by Jeff Milo
Come and get your Deluxe Box Sets! (Wait, you haven't put one of your own out yet??)
Daft Punk haven't confirmed it as of this blog-posting, but their most recent album, Random Access Memories, which came out mere months ago, is rumored on twitter to be re-released, not yet, but soon, via a Deluxe Box Set. You know the kinds, the ones old British Invasion bands and American arena rock outfits from the 60's and 70's usually get, re-packaged with remastered songs for their most iconic albums, with collector's edition-type cover art and yadda yadda.
But those, and music overall, really, might not be that big of a deal. That is, at least, if you read too deeply into the remarks of one-half of the French pair of robot-faced post-techno-pop auteurs, Thomas Bangalter, in a recent interview with Pitchfork. (And, when, if ever, do I resist from reading-too-deeply into music minutiae?)
Speaking on the widespread access to means (equipment, software) for making music, Thomas Bangalter told Pitchfork: "When everybody has the ability to make magic, it's like there's no more magic."
He just eulogized our capacity to give and receive astonishment. That's the epitome of disenchantment. That's heavy! (Or am I reading too deeply?)
If the audience can do it, he goes on to say, referring to "music" as the ostensible trick (illusion!) performed by the ostensible magician (i.e. Daft Punk,) then why are they (an audience of would-be magic-makers) still showing up to see your tricks? .If the next best magician might be in the front row of your show, staring up at you with narrow eyes, hands-half clasped tapping his fingertips together, plotting how she/he is going to outdo you when he gets home to his laptop, than how long can you sustain your spell over them?
The hypnosis has broken.
And who are I to preach MY opinion on what Daft Punk's magical summer means to the wider music world? (I mean, just considering that "Get Lucky" got played in between mainstream stations' playlists of Robin Thicke and Lady Gaga, that's interesting considering this pair of producers, songwriters, DJs, etc -were once operating underground - not obscure, but certainly more esteemed by the eclectically-inclined "indie" crowds). But, everyone has their own opinions on this (and very many don't even have an opinion at all and feel your wasting their time by writing this, but...) everyone can post said-opinions anywhere they like to anyone they want...
The Smiths sang an anti-authoritarian song ("Panic") that I should probably heed at this point, if I am purporting to be in any position of authority; and in that song they rallied against a symbol of perceived authority, the pop station disc jockey, calling to hang them, because their so-called authoritative selections of songs "says nothing to me about my life."
Just like Daft Punk says nothing to the acoustic-based rhythm & blues singer still mining the old forms or the half-tuned, shoddily wired punk rocker with an amp as blown out as their vocal chords, still posed against the idea of laptop music. How much longer will Daft Punk be saying anything-about-the-lives of their bedrock core of fans who have followed them from as early as "Da Funk" (if not decades earlier, when they truly seemed ahead of their time)? When their popular perception becomes even more confused by the digesting ears of the tray-clutched top-40 listeners spooning single after single down their ears from a homogenized buffet table of whatever's hot this week...how then, are they categorized... Is their anti-idol iconography, seen by their initial "indie" bedrock core of fans as their statement against stardom and worship (i.e., those robot masks) seen as gimmicky to the music-for-the-fun-of-it listeners who had never heard of them before?
Should a Box Set of an album come out so soon (within a calendar year, if not sooner,) after it's initial release date? Will Box Sets just come as regularly as hear-today-gone-tomorrow hits like "Blurred Lines?"
Long story short: Music columnist screeds like this come off old-fashioned in a tilt-o-whirl music world such as this... And I'm not here to say anything to you about your life. I'm just here to get you to ask yourself whether there is any magic left...
Can you still lose yourself to the dance-music...Or, to ask whether you can still suspend your disbelief, to this magic, if the hat from which the Box Set rabbit is being pulled-out-of, starts looking like old hat.