Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories – 5 conclusions

 

For the last two days I’ve been playing in a loop Daft Punks’s latest album. I won’t pass any judgement on it’s artistic value but I thought it’s worth sharing some thoughts that crystallized around it so far.

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Hardware matters

I’ve listened to it an all sorts of hardware combinations: home on my Yamaha S500 amplif with low-fi Philips headphones (first audition), on the same amplif with Monitor Audio Bronze BX2 speakers at low, mid and high volume, in my car with mid quality Sony gear, at work on my ASUS N series notebook with ASUS gaming headphones, on my HTC smartphone with ASUS gaming headphones. Virtually any combination of hardware offered a subtly but obviously different rendition. I don’t remember in past history an album to be so complex in it’s acoustic composition and the requirements placed on the hardware it uses for playback. The mastering on it seems to be almost perfect.

 

Daft Punk shouldn’t have…

Some people were disappointed that Daft Punk strayed from their heavy electronic past. “They shouldn’t have, it’s not their place”! I think Daft Punk should do exactly what they think best. Creativity cannot bloom unless you truly follow your inspiration into whatever territory your passion carries you. It’s not my place to judge, they and only they decide what is the best place to be. I can only listen and appreciate their work or not.

 

This album is for…

If you’re expecting to hear this album in clubs, you might be disappointed. (I humbly think) It’s not for techno-heads, I don’t even see it hitting the radios. It’s not targeted at any specific genre or for any niche I can possibly think. Maybe some random Café del Mar compilation would include some track. But I might be wildly mistaken. In my view it’s an album that shows a deep level of maturity of a group of artists that kept on growing and incorporating much more music than I can possibly imagine. Hats off to that. Maybe it will create a new genre all by itself.

 

Back to bass

Corny word play, granted, and not even that original Sting might say, but for me throughout this album the bass is like a string that holds all the music together. An otherwise invisible part of music shows it’s force by gluing together a technically almost perfect creation. There were moments when the bass complexity and strength proved to much for the sound system combination. At one point my car seemed to want to fall apart under it’s strength. Thankfully Ford has good construction quality.

 

Dreams of Vinyl

I am certain that upon release the final digital version will be slightly better than the preview on iTunes. But given it’s acoustic complexity I am left with an uncontrollable desire to hear it on vinyl, on some top line of amplif and speakers, in an acoustically perfect audition chamber. Or maybe on a very good pair of headphones? And in the end, unfortunately for my budget, this will mean that sometime in the future I will buy a pick-up and jump into this universe…

 

As I said, I won’t pass any judgement on this album’s artistic value but I will say only this. For me it’s like a ray of light, hitting a drop of rain. It can pass through you or, if you’re the right shape, it can spread into an infinitely beautiful rainbow. If you’re lucky.

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