Here’s Part 2 of our 4-part review of Daft Punk’s Homework. If you haven’t checked out Part 1 you can do so here.
6. Fresh – If you didn’t know this one had a video, you’re not alone. Originally included as part of DP’s D.A.F.T.: A Story About Dogs, Androids, Firemen and Tomatoes DVD, this vid has gained popularity on Youtube and the like and serves to wrap up the story begun about Charles, our favourite canine/human from “Da Funk”. Not to mention, it was Daft Punk themselves who directed this single-shot clip. The tune itself has the French-touch filters swirling throughout and serves as a sunny, surf-y, beach-like tune; chilled out enough to lounge to, but funky enough to get your groove on as well. As far as composition, rumours abound (the way rumours abound about damn near every track they make) that it is based on a sample from “Just the Way You Are” – Billy Joel. Maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t. It’s a very cool, laidback track nonetheless, possibly done in tribute to Brian Wilson, a quote from whom adorns the liner notes of the LP/CD. Great for a chill-out set or a nice transition tune.
7. Around the World – Before delving into the meat of this masterpiece, I would like to clear something up once and for all: I don’t care what people on Internet forums, Youtube or the idiots who put together that stupid piece of crap compilation “Discovered”, which allegedly contains all of the original tracks Daft Punk have sampled over the years (it doesn’t, BTW) have to say:
THERE ARE NO SAMPLES IN THIS TRACK AND THERE NEVER HAS BEEN. NOTHING. NO “REC ROOM” – JERRY GOLDSMITH SAMPLES, NO SAMPLES OF THE BASSLINE FROM CHIC’S “GOOD TIMES”, NOT A THING. STOP WASTING YOUR LIVES TRYING TO FIGURE IT OUT, JUST ENJOY THE TUNE AND REMEMBER, DAFT PUNK MAY SAMPLE FROM TIME TO TIME, BUT THEY ARE PERFECTLY CAPABLE OF PLAYING INSTRUMENTS AND RECORDING ORIGINAL SOUNDS.
Thank you for letting me put that out there, now down to business. This has to be my favourite Daft Punk tune to play out live; it works to this day and sounds funkier and fresher than half the stuff sitting in your local music store’s electronic section. Funky as anything you’ve ever heard and clearly influenced by the classic bassline from “Good Times”, this track sums up the best of what the boys can do and remains a centrepiece of the album. Throw in a vocoded hook and everything in this tune is in absolute perfect sync. The video, also my favourite from the boys, takes this concept one step further by having the robots, skeletons, mummies and dancers not only perform in sync, but each of the characters dance to the unique rhythm of the beat, bassline, keyboard riffs and vocals respectively. Probably one of the best instances of choreography I can name, the video is a pure classic, just like the tune it is made for. The track’s funky, futuristic disco sound can bring a smile to anyone’s face (I’ve heard dancers yell out “classic!” and “here we go..!” many, many times) and really gets the feet moving. A masterpiece contained within a masterpiece if you will, this one never disappoints and there’s rarely a gig I play where this doesn’t get some air time.
7. Rollin’ & Scratchin’ – Originally released as the B-side of “Da Funk” on Soma Quality Recordings, this is a love it or hate it tune for a lot of fans. It’s long, repetitive, hard, harsh-sounding techno and sounds like an intentional attempt to fuse all of the sounds that made up a “typical” sounding techno track at the time. Nevertheless, I absolutely love mixing this in my harder sets and then taking the EQs and filters on my mixer and going completely nuts with them. Peaking and dropping three times during its 7-plus minutes, it demonstrates that you really don’t need to layer a whole lot of sounds on top of one another to make a great track. Bass, hi-hats, kick, and some synth stabs and you’re there. In fact, this fell out of favour with a lot of ravers at the time because everyone was playing it. Now, having had a chance to cool down a little, it’s a classic piece of hard-house/techno that I truly enjoy digging out. Whether layered with an acapella over top or just played out by itself, this kicks the energy in a party way up and lets the crowd know the DJ has some balls. It’s also been a big part of their lives shows, check out the video clip above to see what I mean.
Well, we’ve covered the first two sides of Homework, now we move on to the last two. Keep checking back for our next installment of our review of this house masterpiece!