So ‘Get Lucky’ is your favourite song of the year, you’ve bought the Daft Punk albums (and then taken ‘Human After All’ back to the shop to swap it for ‘Daft Club’), but where next? Here are six lesser-known tracks from Bangalter and Guy-Man from their early, arguably best, years.
‘Spinal Scratch’ (1996)
Released the same year as Daft Punk’s breakthrough track ‘Da Funk’ became a hit, Thomas Bangalter clearly had so much creative energy as the pair readied their debut LP. There’s a sense of fun to ‘Spinal Scratch’, Bangalter nails a relentless groove but throws a lot of silly little tricks in (DJ scratching noises, half beat breakdowns) to keep things interesting. It’s the equal of any of the harder, noisier tracks on ‘Homework’ but a much
‘Disco Cubizm (Daft Punk Remix)’ (1996)
They haven’t done many remixes considering their long history through the golden years of dance music, but apart from their Franz Ferdinand ‘Take Me Out’ miss, Daft Punk have knocked them pretty much out the park. ‘Mothership Reconnection’ and Gabrielle’s ‘Forget About The World’ are on ‘Daft Club’, leaving this equally great, melodically repetitive piece of tech-disco to dig from the crates. It slows the rather banging original down until the piano – nicked and looped from The Crusaders’ ‘Streetlife’ – is more in line with its original tempo and that disco swing is back.
‘Club Soda’ (1998)
A simple piece of 90s filter disco, ‘Club Soda’ is rather more refreshing than the gritty, jacking stuff usually found on Bangalter’s ‘Tracks On Da Rocks’ 12”s. A sliver of an old disco guitar riff is pitched right down to a very ‘now’ 120bpm for a sexy minimal groove. Warm and euphoric, it should find favour with anyone that liked ‘Get Lucky’. Like most of the stuff on Bangalter’s peerless Roulé imprint, this is firmly made for club play but is sexy and melodic enough to groove around your bedroom to.
‘Vertigo (Virgo Edit)’ (1997)
Although Braxe would later have the smash of 2000 with ‘Intro’, this raw, stuttered, clattering track needed Thomas Bangalter’s edit – using just a few seconds of the original – for it to rule the clubs. It gets more than halfway through before things kick in, showing how confident Bangalter was as a producer right from the get go. A stomping kick drum and disco strings turned techno – this took DJ Sneak’s cut up disco blueprint to the absolute jacking limit. Within a year Bangalter would leave that sound behind behind forever.
Before turning up on ‘Random Access Memories’ as the co-producer of ‘Contact’, DJ Falcon had some previous form with Bangalter. As well as releasing tracks on Roulé, the two worked on a couple of Ibiza smashes. First up was a self-titled single with a repetitive vocal refrain and fat, warm bassline that gave hints to the softer, 80s style of ‘Discovery’. Both this and the proto-electro house of ‘So Much Love To Give’ could have been chart hits but the pair decided to release them as 12” only singles. Oh, the old days.
Le Knight Club
There’s long been an assumption that Bangalter is the talent behind Daft Punk, and certainly he’s got more classic solo tracks to his name (‘Music Sounds Better With You’ anyone?). But Guy-Man’s collaborations with Eric Chedeville had a decent run in the late 90s too, mostly with smooth, filtered disco cut ups. They may be low on ambition and ideas compared to Bangalter, but there’s the same lush feel as ‘Discovery’ or ‘RAM’, especially on this track, one of their last – all jaunty synth riffs and latin percussion.
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Illustration by Craig Robinson