Classic Album Sundays Chicago at AXPONA Album Blog: Daft Punk ‘Discovery’

We are delighted to have been asked to join this years Audio Expo North America event in Chicago which takes place from April 13th – April 15th at the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Centre. We will be paying homage to the long-lasting influence of Chicago house music as we will be joined by Chi-Town native Terry Hunter to discuss the impact of Chicago house on the world leading to Grammy Award Winners Daft Punk and their iconic second album Discovery.

Audio Expo North America is the largest high-end audio show in North America. The three-day experience features multiple hotel floors packed with listening rooms, The Exhibit Hall featuring Ear Gear Expo and The Record Fair, seminars and live musical performances. Whether you’re a serious audiophile, a newcomer to high-end audio or simply a music lover, you’ll find everything you need to immerse yourself in your favorite sounds.

You can get the full details on the event here.

Discovery signaled a completely new way of life and music for Daft Punk’s Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo. Their debut album, Homework, channeled their house music influences (as outlined in “Teachers”) and fused together techno, hip-hop, G Funk, and other electronic genres to excite and animate dance clubs worldwide. The world reacted just as they wanted, and Daft Punk became the most exciting face of dance music of the 1990s. But, when Virgin Records approached them to fund their follow-up and, in return, “sell [tons of] records and conquer pop culture”, that would visibly change.

When the clock struck midnight on January 1st, 2000, Daft Punk starred in a television commercial, stating “we’re not dead, but we’ve become robots” across Bangalter’s eye-line LCD helmet screen and appearing in their now-legendary futuristic armor. While it was a creative twist inspired by the Millennial Bug, they wanted the robots to do their dirty work and uphold the idea of techno being a faceless genre. In the Daft Punk biopic, Daft Punk Unchained, they claimed, “We still believe it’s an anti-star system. We try not to expose ourselves too much. The music is the only thing that really matters. The people decide for themselves; we’re not really trying to show ourselves off.”

Discovery was the robots’ first donation to the world and serves as Daft Punk’s magnum opus. The album entwines their technological expertise with disco-inspired melodies and English lyrics, pushing tracks like “One More Time”, “Digital Love”, “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” to ripple along radio waves worldwide immediately upon the its release. Aside from the singles, the album naturally ebbs-and-flows, featuring bass-heavy bangers that could have fit appropriately on Homework and chill, ambient compositions that narrates the smooth tranquility after you’ve had enough of the dance floor.

Most of the album’s tracks sample an array of 70s and 80s songs that are twisted into new ecstasy. Some are pop tunes that many Generations Xers can recognize in their original form, like Electric Light Orchestra’s “Evil Woman” and Barry Manilow’s “Who’s Been Sleeping in My Bed”. The more enticing samples were ripped from dusty records cherished by avid record collectors or their respective cult followings, like Edwin Birdsong’s “Cola Bottle Baby”, Sister Sledge’s “Il Macquillage Lady”, and George Duke’s “I Love You More”. These cuts are warped with pristine clarity and new melodic character by Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo’s production expertise. Any listener would be shocked to reference the selections next to their original recording after spinning Discovery.

When they didn’t feature these splices from the past, they sampled themselves. Daft Punk tracked guitar, keyboard, synthesizers, vocoder, and drums to fill the spaces where their collection of disco gems couldn’t, ultimately proving that electronic music is much more than an art of button-pushing. The glowing male vocal tracks on “One More Time”, “Face to Face” and “Too Long” were only elements that didn’t create themselves and were contributed by fellow DJs Romanthony and Todd Edwards.

Discovery is an album worthy of celebration and reflection. Each song is organized to blend fiction and reality, given it was created by humans but represented by robots. If it weren’t for Discovery, electronic music wouldn’t have the dominant power it has today. I’m sure wherever Bangalter and Homem-Christo are now, they’re thankful they can find tranquility while the robots take the credit for musical innovations.

Following an interview with Terry Hunter we will feature a full album playback on a world class audiophile sound system supplied by our partners at AXPONA which will include Noesis 3TX Loudspeakers and The Captivator 212PRO.

Details on ticket packages can be found here.

Join us to hear this album as never before.

Our extended blog post on Daft Punk’s Discovery can be found here

Our Daft Punk Discovery Musical Lead-Up Playlist can be heard here

Our Daft Punk Discovery Legacy Playlist can be heard here

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