After sharing some details on their new album, Random Access Memories, with Rolling Stone, Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter (Daft Punk) offered a track-by-track review of their album in a conversation with French publication, Le Nouvel Observateur. It definitely gives us a detailed view into the creation and inspiration of one of this year's most anticipated albums. SoundIsStyle comes through with the translation. Merci beaucoup.
"Give Life Back to Music"
“One of the motivations for this disc is to provide something light and elegant. Here we have John Robinson Jr., who plays drums. It was inspired by the Off The Wall album by Michael Jackson. What’s great here is the infinite possible shades: something we had not used with the electronic programming. Records produced by Quincy Jones have always fascinated us due to their ultimate precision that has never been achieved by any technology whatsoever. There’s a little basic difference between “Thriller” and “Bad.” In the latter, the securities are of a very high level and the performances are less qualified.”
"The Game of Love"
“We sing with vocoders. At a time when human voices are processed to become robotic, we find it exciting to make a more humane as possible robotic voice. The idea of artificial intelligence approaches the man … An emotion of something that is not human but tries to be.”
"Giorgio by Moroder"
“We met several years ago and has always been for us a kind of mythical figure, a little mysterious. His personal journey following the music. The idea came to us a in a documentary based on an interview we conducted. The voice of Giorgio Moroder was recorded with multiple microphones several different times … So we finally recorded about three hours of interviews in which he recounts his life as a musician. This piece is a metaphor for musical freedom: we have always tried to break down the barriers between genres, between good and bad taste, the stuff connected and unconnected. Giorgio is a bit of a model of its kind. He was born in a small provincial town, began studying music in hotel lounges, the opening act for Johnny Hallyday, and started doing stuff along the lines of progressive rock. To hear him say, in 72 years, “ah, I made electronic music forty years ago,” it’s fascinating.”
“Gonzales plays the piano on the song. He’s a friend and a great pianist, one of the best musicians of his generation. “Within” is one of the first songs we recorded. It is very minimal: a little rhythm section, bass, piano. Create the most with very little, this is the idea behind this title.”
“Julian Casablancas of The Strokes sings. We are both great fans and we learned that he wanted to meet us. It was this demo that was lying, he came, he listened and he was thoroughly impressed! It has a kind of gift. We, basically, love rock and the concept of the rock band, but there were so many strong sounds that the emergence of a new voice at one point became difficult. Recently, The Strokes and MGMT – with dimensions and sensitivities – succeeded. Julian has a punk rock side, a super strong emotional impact in its melodies. It was important to have this album to feel surrounded by our contemporaries.”
"Lose Yourself to Dance"
“This piece is the simplest definition of our desire: an album and working very simple at the same time, with a low axis, drums, guitar – and robots! This is the opposite of something overproduced. Our fantasy was to redo the dance music with drums … The record that way has brought us enormous satisfaction, we are proud that it is a real drums on the album and not a box to rhythms. There are two drummers on the disk: John Robinson Jr., who holds the record for the most-recorded drumming in the world, and Omar Hakim, who started with Stevie Wonder 16 years ago …”
“This piece is the crux of the album. It is the starting point of the entire disk that holds the meeting with Paul Williams, a sound engineer we know. Paul Williams [composer of film music, including "Phantom of the Paradise" and actor] visited us in the studio. From this meeting was born something very cinematic, very narrative. “Touch” clearly defines the psychedelic aspect of “Random Access Memories” . This piece has 250 tracks, so this is the most complicated, the most crazy.”
“Pharrell Williams sings this song: it was natural to include him on our album. He is a born performer, complete, which produces a lot of elegance. He has not always had the opportunity to show he is a great singer, so that we can include him in the pantheon of legendary performers. There is no imaginary line that separates the great artists of the past and present. We wanted to give the impression of being in a capsule in the studio, isolated from the world. One can believe in 1978, but our idea is to travel this music from the present into the future, see what happens and see if this enthusiasm is contagious.”
“Another piece done with Paul Williams, who wrote the lyrics. It is a cosmic super song with very poetic lyrics and very pure. We talked a lot with Paul Williams regarding the direction of this album, and it was worth it to translate our ideas into words.”
“A futuristic piece, which could be from the year 4000 …”
"Fragments of Time"
“Our reunion with Todd Edwards [composer house] after Discovery.”
"Doin ‘it Right"
“The angelic voice is Panda Bear [group Animal Collective]. We love what he’s doing solo, as well as the approach of his group. This piece – the only electronic song on the album – is the last recorded. The result is a kind of relaxation. Hands down the most futuristic and contemporary.”
“A piece made with DJ Falcon and recorded during the last mission of NASA’s Apollo 17. The voice heard is that of Captain Eugene Cernan, the last man to have gone to the moon. It is a voice that dwells among literally just space. And the aura speaks for itself …”
Thanks to Zach Gambill for the headsup!