Daft Punk - Musique Vol. 1: 1993-2005
Mike Mantin 03/04/2006
Daft Punk have always struck me as a singles band, so it's fitting that they should receive a greatest hits, even if it is only after three albums (in twelve years? Slackers!). But despite patchy albums, occasional overdose on cheese and 'Human After All', Daft Punk remain a great dance act and a key influence on many today's dance artists, their fellow France natives Vitalic and M83 springing to mind. While good electronica remains a strictly underground prospect, Daft Punk are perhaps one of the only recent dance acts to have mainstream success and still distance themselves from the image of Ibiza, glow sticks and Bacardi Breezers.
This a strong collection, despite some strange or unwise choices. "Homework", their first, genre-busting album, is over-represented slightly. Those instantly-recognisable, classic singles "Da Funk" and "Around The World" are in place, but they could have bumped off one to make room for more from "Discovery", which only gets three cuts. And here's where the ranting about omissions starts: why is the overly slushy "Something About Us" here instead of the irony-splashed electro-cheesefest ballad "Digital Love"? It's made up for, though, by the inclusion of "One More Time" and "Harder Better Faster Stronger", songs which sound as exciting and joyous through headphones as they do on a dancefloor.
Amazingly, considering the panning it got on its release last year, three tracks are taken from "Human After All". Only its title track, though, deserves inclusion: "Robot Rock" is as nasty and clich'd as its title implies, and "Technologic's" commentary on the digital age is just annoying. The collection is rounded off by three inessential remixes presumably added for the completists. Come on, whose idea was it to remix Gabrielle?
Ignoring the fact that you can get Homework and Discovery for about a fiver each on Amazon Used & New, this is a decent introduction to Daft Punk, especially since, if you're quick, the album comes with a DVD of their legendary videos. Daft Punk are pioneers in the video field even more than in music: the hypnotising choreography on "Around The World", Spike Jonze-directed canine surrealism of "Da Funk" and cool manga animation of the "Discovery" videos are not be missed and if you've never seen them before, you're in for an audio-visual treat. So if you've neglected the Parisian duo, "Musique Vol. 1 1993-2005" should tide you over until their next album which, judging by their robotic schedule of releasing new albums, should be in two years, eleven months and four days.