Daft Punk

Alive 2007
(Virgin Records)

The '70s fell to Pink Floyd — and so the Zeroes have fallen to Daft Punk. The French duo started churning out techno/house/electronica music in the '90s. Now, they're globally dilated and definers of that diffuse genre. Alive 2007, their new album, is a live recording from a June concert in Paris. There, the band remixed and hybridized its old hits: Out came new arrangements with more bass, heavier synth, and mash-ups done proper. At the outskirts of the album, you can hear the crowd whooping and cheering. The music itself emanates from Daft Punk's signature stage-set: a pyrotechnical pyramid, with the two men dressed as robots orchestrating the synth-phonies from above. Alive begins with "Robot Rock," and if tribes had synthesizers, this would be the result. The next track bundles "Touch It" and the infamous "Technologic," during which the cracked voice of an infant recites P.C. functions malevolently. "Television Rules the Nation," with that resonant, repeated mantra, consecrates a world-historic fact: Everything — politics, the economy, families, the imagination — is falling into a crushing orbit around the tube. "One More Time" has been touched up with celestial synth riffs that sound like what happens when you press down on your eyelids and colored forms glide across them. Psychedelia and 10-ton beats aren't Daft Punk's only M.O.s, however. The band seems to channel the loud discordance of the zeitgeist, and Alive 2007, with its human-robot motifs, might well be an omen and touchstone of the Virtual Age. Exhorting the crowd to life, the concert ends on "Human After All." But are we anymore?

 
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