45 45s @ 45 : SWC STYLE (Part 39)

A GUEST SERIES

7 – One More Time – Daft Punk (2000, Virgin Records)

Released as a single in November 2000 (Reached Number 2)

To say the situation is frosty is an understatement. We haven’t spoken since we got in the car at the airport and that was an hour ago. My hands are sore because I’ve been gripping the steering wheel too hard, his steering wheel. I’m in my brother’s car and we are driving back from Heathrow after having spent three days at Munich’s annual Oktoberfest.

We are not talking because my brother has a hangover and he is being especially stupid about it. In my head I am going through the amount of times he has irritated me since 8am that morning, a list I am going to relay to you all now, well most of it. I am also being enjoying suddenly having to be harsh on the brakes of his car and jolting him in his seat.

At 8am earlier that day, the phone in my hotel room starts ringing. I have to get out the shower to answer it. A strange German voice speaks to me down the line. He tells me that my friend is ill in Room 423. This is my brothers room. I throw some clothes on and stroll on down to the room. The first thing that greets me is the smell. There is sick on the floor, in the bed, in the sink, on the fucking window, god knows how it got there. The most disgusting sight however, is the sight of my brother in what looks like leopard skin boxer shorts and very little else, lying on the bed. The cleaner identifies himself as the caller and points at my brother. I shake my head and give the cleaner 20 euros for his trouble and for his later troubles and I apologise to him – he smiles and says ‘Oktoberfest?’ and I nod. He laughs and says, ‘Every year, you English…’

I tell my brother that he needs to drink some strong coffee and get packed and ready to leave as we are booked on a flight in five hours time. He tells me that he will catch a later flight. I tell him I am leaving in one hour and so is he, and I pick up his tickets and passport and walk out of his room.

At 9.15am my brother vomits outside a Porsche garage about five minutes’ walk from the hotel. He at least gets most of it into a handily positioned bin. The sick is a weird orange colour, like the colour of Donald Trump’s hair. I walk off and sit on a wall overlooking a nice park and wait for him.

At 10am my brother lies down on the floor of train to ‘stop the world moving so fast’. A nice American couple ask me if he is ok. A German man looks at him and then at me and says ‘Oktoberfest?’ I sigh and nod and the German laughs so much he starts coughing like a comedy villain in a Childs TV programme. Twenty-three other people get up, walk over him and sit somewhere else.

At 10.30am I make my brother run to catch our airport connection. We don’t need to run but I convince him that it is leaving in two minutes. This makes him dry retch into a carrier bag. This pleases me. I text my wife and update her with the circumstances she tells me to leave him where he is. She doesn’t like my brother since he beat her at Risk two Christmases ago.

At 11.15am my brother somehow makes it through security. Despite looking like someone who has been killed. Twice.

At 1130am whilst in departures, my brother vanishes. I sit in blissful moan free silence for 45 minutes for the first time that day I relax and I listen to some music. This track comes on and I feel my anger subsiding a bit and a little bit of sympathy creeps in for my brother.

Jump N Shout – Basement Jaxx (1999, XL Records, Reached Number 12)

At 12.15pm they call our flight. My brother hasn’t returned from wherever he is. I guess it’s the toilets. So I grab his bag and my bag and head to the toilets. Of which there are four sets. I pick the closest one and shout his name when I go in. Two men leave quickly. A cubicle door slowly opens and a white-faced shadowy figure who looks like my brother emerges. “Let me die” he says with a croak. Which I have to say makes me laugh.

Between 1pm and 3pm my brother sits on a plane in the crash position blowing into a sick bag. I chat to the German man next to me. He looks at my brother and says “Oktoberfest…?” I sigh and nod. He tells me that he goes every year and every year on the flight he catches back there is at least one.

I get off the plane at 3pm and wander down the gangways and into the arrivals lounge. When I got off the plane my brother was behind me, when I got to arrivals he was nowhere to be seen. I retrace my steps and find him being pushed in a wheelchair by a kindly air stewardess. She frowns at me when my brother tells her that I am with him. We at least avoid the crowds going through customs.

At 5pm I have to pull over on the hard shoulder on the M3 so that my brother can be sick. After improving the Wiltshire countryside, he at least perks up a bit. He manages to control his own window switch and asks nicely if we could stop at the next services, which we do. I sit in the car park in the service area near Yeovil and wait for him to come back.

I switch the radio on. My brother comes back and gets back in and offers me a weak “Thank You”. He’s carrying a can of Red Bull and is eating a bacon sandwich. About ten minutes later, ‘One More Time’ by Daft Punk comes on, and my brother looks at me. “I bloody love this song” he says. It’s the best thing he has said all day. “Me too” I tell him and I turn it up.

You know something” he tells me ten minutes later, the mood having lightened considerably “that was a brilliant trip, I mean, today was a bit shit, sorry, for being such a lightweight, but I’m definitely going to do that again next year, you’re coming right…?”

To be honest he wasn’t a lightweight, he drank way more than me, I just remembered that we had a flight to catch, so stopped drinking and went bed earlier than him. I left him drinking in the hotel bar with a couple of Albanians, but I don’t tell him that, he was convinced I was there until the end. I look at him, somewhat gobsmacked. But he was right. It was an amazing trip.

Life Is Sweet – Chemical Brothers (1994, Virgin Records, Reached Number 25)

SWC

AN IMAGINARY COMPILATION ALBUM : #46 : DAFT PUNK

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An Imaginary Compilation – Daft Punk 

Written by guest contributor Aidan Baker

JC – your blog is wonderful, the range and variety of the music is terrific and a lot of it is new to me – just recently, there was a piece about Asian Dub Foundation, brilliant band, one I had never checked out before. It’s this that makes it so compulsive. I’ve been reading T(n)VV for about three years, having been sent a link by a friend of mine. I’m into all forms of music, but I’ve never contributed, I’ve never commented but I’ve downloaded so much from the site – I thought it might be time to offer something back – An Imaginary Compilation on my favourite band of all time – Daft Punk

First a history lesson. In 1992, the members of Daft Punk and one of fellow French music pioneers formed a band called Darlin’ – they signed to Stereolab’s label and even supported them a couple of times. Then came a review from Melody Maker which called them ‘Daft Punky Thrash’ – and Darlin’ immediately disbanded. Liking the term, the guys ditched the Phoenix chap and formed a new band – called Daft Punk.

They have been a band which have always pushed boundaries musically, their debut record ‘Homework’ drew heavily from the Chicago house scene. Their second record ‘Discovery’ was warmer and more emotional and has several nods to the 70s soul scene and even samples Barry Manilow on one track. Then ‘One More Time’ dropped and the world went Daft Punk crazy.

The third record ‘Human After All’ was panned but it is an excellent record full of massive tunes like ‘Technologic’. It plays on the robot angle more heavily – ‘Robot Rock’ for instance. However the love for Daft Punk was dropping, so sensing the public’s mood, Daft Punk vanished. Then they returned a few years later and teamed up with Pharrell Williams and released the biggest record in years  – ‘Get Lucky’. A record that is not that different from ‘One More Time’ just more reliant on Nile Rodgers than Will.i.am perhaps. The album that followed ‘Random Access Memories’ is easily the best record of this decade, although I think that will probably be controversial.

I guess that Daft Punk have been pushing boundaries since before they were even Daft Punk and I know that some of you will hate this, particularly the inclusion of ‘Get Lucky’ but here is my Imaginary Compilation for them.

Side One

Make Love (from Human After All, 2005)

As I said early, ‘Human After All’ was commercial and critically panned, it only took six weeks to record and is apparently ‘pure improvisation’. Most of the critics at the time said that it sounded ‘cheap’. ‘Make Love’ sounds like it was included on the album by mistake – I love the way it fades in and out and seem shorter than it is. The barely audible lyric –‘make love’ repeated over again, then the slow motion guitar and that lovely low murmuring piano.

Digital Love (from Discovery, 2001)

On this track Daft Punk took the chorus to heart and made their own dreams come true. The story behind the album ‘Discovery’ is that Daft Punk were trying to make an album that transported the listener back to a young age, about that feeling you get when you listen to music, different music, as a child, before you worry about being judged for liking something. ‘Digital Love’ does that better than anything else on the album.

Rollin & Scratchin (from Homework, 1997)

A song best described as an aural battery. A song that squeals away so much that it almost tortures you. The complete other side of Daft Punk, an acid house frenzy that sounds like the noise you get if you mess around with the AM settings on your old wireless radios. It is a sound that can also be heard in the next track…

Contact (from Random Access Memories, 2013)

I love the sample at the start of this. There is a simple beat and then an astronaut talking about the ‘bright object’ that ‘rotating because its flashing’ and then the final bit ‘there’s something out there’. So not only have Daft Punk released the greatest record of the last ten years or so, they have also managed to convince NASA to let them use a transcript from Apollo 17 (incidentally NASA say that the astronaut was referring to a discarded rocket). The song itself is a bit like a star exploding – a synthesizer that spins faster and faster that creates a noise so intense that actually you look forward to the song breaking and fizzling out to a close.

Giorgio By Moroder (from Random Access Memories, 2013)

To some, listening to disco and electro pop pioneer Giorgio Moroder relates his early life experience and music inspirations over nine minutes of zooming space funk complete with piano solos and strings and ‘clicks’ is probably not their idea of a good time. To me, it is utterly utterly essential. Damn Fine.

Side Two

Harder Better Faster Stronger (from Discovery, 2001)

I find it quite upsetting to think that there will be a generation of people who heard ‘Harder, Better, faster, Stronger’ first on Kanye West’s ‘Stronger’ and didn’t know it was a Daft Punk song. That needs rectifying. I was at Glastonbury when Yeezus started with it and I just wanted to Daft Punk to come out and say ‘SURPRISE’ – and then that Frankenstein vocal and that jittery cymbal crash in.

Around The World (from Homework, 1997)

Even though it’s ridiculous, “Around The World” goes hard. Its one hell of a record – That bass line heard that heavily borrows from Chic’s “Good Times”. That occasional sweep of a jet taking off. The mummies and skeletons and synchronized swimmers in the music video, and ultimately a melody focused on the repetition of the phrase “around the world” (up to 144 times in the original) all underline a track so effective in its simplicity and just pure Daft Punk.

Da Funk (from Homework, 1997)

Staying with the First Album – watch the video – its insane – but it is the best way to get to grips with the track. A guy trying to do the normal things, like buy books, get on a bus but can’t. Not because of the animatronic dog mask but because of the massive stereo that won’t stop playing. Is it a dream? – the alarm clock at the end suggests that, but again, this is a track held together by one simple infectious riff. The first Daft Punk I heard and I was hooked from then.

Get Lucky (from Random Access Memories, 2013)

The first million selling record of the decade I think. A record that is so good I can remember where I was when I first heard it. For me, Nile Rodgers makes it with that genre humping technique that he has that never gets tired. Pharrell has never sounded better either, and even manages that line about cruising to legend of the phoenix without chuckling. It was about three minutes in to this that I decided that Daft Punk were my favourite band ever.

One More Time (from Discovery, 2001)

I’ll end with perhaps Daft Punks most iconic moment. The late great Romanthony sings his way through this infectious slice of brilliance. His voice sounds perfect over the throb of that beat. ‘One More Time’ is utterly irresistible. As it states throughout it ‘We’re gonna celebrate all night’ – who can say no to that. Totally wonderful right down to the church bells that end it.

mp3 : Daft Punk – Make Love
mp3 : Daft Punk – Digital Love
mp3 : Daft Punk – Rollin’ & Scratchin’
mp3 : Daft Punk – Contact
mp3 : Daft Punk – Giorgio by Moroder
mp3 : Daft Punk – Harder Better Faster Stronger
mp3 : Daft Punk – Around The World
mp3 : Daft Punk – Da Funk
mp3 : Daft Punk – Get Lucky
mp3 : Daft Punk – One More Time

AIDAN