Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories is one of the most celebrated albums of the year, certain to sit at the top of many a critic’s best-of list.
I don’t think it’s all that great, to be honest. Yes, ‘Get Lucky’ is one of the breakout songs of the year (and one I considered for this list) but the record too often suffers the failures of its genre. Electronic music is repetitive and boring. So is much of this album.
But I have a soft spot for one track in particular, and it isn’t one of the radio-ready club jams.
‘Giorgio by Moroder’ is a 9-minute track built around an interview with Giovanni Giorgio Moroder, the 73-year-old Italian producer/DJ who is often credited with the birth of electronic music.
Moroder talks about how he got his start in the clubs of Germany and then describes his early use of synthesizers. When he describes adding a click effect to a song, Daft Punk does the same on their backing track.
After a lengthy, funky, interlude, Moroder returns to stress the importance of freeing your mind of the “rules” and having no preconceptions about how music should sound. On cue, Daft Punk introduces a string interlude that would fit comfortably in a Hollywood drama then reintroduces the drums and synths, sending the whole mess into a glorious crescendo that proves they’ve learned Moroder’s lesson well.
This isn’t the kind of song I’ll listen to very often, but I love the thought and spirit behind it. EDM might not be my thing, but I can appreciate it when done this well.
When I was fifteen, sixteen, when I really started to play the guitar
I definitely wanted to become a musician
It was almost impossible because the dream was so big
I didn’t see any chance because I was living in a little town; I was studying
And when I finally broke away from school and became a musician
I thought, “Well, now I may have a little bit of a chance,”
Because all I really wanted to do is music – and not only play music
But compose music
At that time, in Germany, in ’69-’70, they had already discotheques
So, I would take my car, would go to a discotheque and sing maybe 30 minutes. I think I had about seven, eight songs. I would partially sleep in the car because I didn’t want to drive home and that helped me for about almost two years to survive in the beginning
I wanted to do a album with the sound of the ’50s, the sound of the ’60s, of the ’70s and then have a sound of the future. And I said, “Wait a second…I know the synthesizer – why don’t I use the synthesizer which is the sound of the future?” And I didn’t have any idea what to do, but I knew I needed a click so we put a click on the 24 track which then was synched to the Moog Modular. I knew that it could be a sound of the future but I didn’t realise how much the impact it would be
My name is Giovanni Giorgio, but everybody calls me Giorgio
Once you free your mind about a concept of harmony and music being correct, you can do whatever you want. So, nobody told me what to do, and there was no preconception of what to do