Daft Punk split after 28 years

Arthur Brown reflects upon the legacy of Daft Punk, who recently ended their 28-year-long dance music collaboration.

Arthur Brown
8th March 2021
Image credit: cheatsheet.com
On the 22nd of September, Daft Punk, music’s most-loved robots announced their split with a seven-minute video titled “Epilogue”. The video, which featured the duo’s 2013 song “Touch” over the top of footage from the 2006 film Electroma showed one of the two walking away from the other before exploding. Their official disbandment was announced by their publicist later on that day.

Their split came completely out of the blue, but for most fans was ultimately not that surprising. It brought a 23 year career to an end, in which Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter, both French born, brought electronic dance to the forefront of world music. Many have questioned the breakup, but both men are now well into their forties and we must only assume that they will both continue with the production of music on an individual basis as well as for other artists, something which has already been happening since their last album in 2013.

Daft Punk received large acclaim for their debut album Homework in 1997, which was backed by the hit singles 'Around the World' and 'Da Funk'. They followed this up in 2001 with Discovery, which established them as one of the forefront electronic presences in world music, and filled clubs all around the world with hit records 'One More Time' and 'Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger'.

Their third album, Human After All, received mixed reviews after its 2005 release, but the duo bounced back with the live album Alive 2007 which is widely recognised as one of the best live albums of all time. After producing the score for Tron: Legacy in 2010, they reached critical and commercial success in 2013 for their final album Random Access Memories, which they won four Grammys for, including Record of the Year for 'Get Lucky' - one of the best and most successful songs of the last decade.

It’s undeniable that this decision to conceal their identity has enhanced their popularity

It would be impossible to assess the legacy and importance of Daft Punk without recognising their choice to hide their faces behind robotic helmets and make very few media appearances. The decision, which was made in 1999 was done so the focus would be on the music, and so that they could control their image whilst maintaining anonymity and protect their personal lives - according to Bangalter. It’s undeniable that this decision to conceal their identity has enhanced their popularity, but also simultaneously created one of the most fascinating and enduring popular culture identities of all time.

In a time when the cult of the celebrity is at its climax, and when an artist’s popularity can rely on image and portrayal in the media, Daft Punk’s legacy reminds music lovers what it was ultimately always about - the music.

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