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Daft Punk: End of an era

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The Grammy-winning music duo Daft Punk has decided to split up after 28 years. 

Formed in 1993, the French duo released an eight-minute clip titled “Epilogue”, using footage from their cult 2006 film “Electroma” in which one of the robots sets the other to self-destruct mode. After the explosion, a cutaway reads “1993-2021” with two robot hands making a circle around a sunset.

Their publicist, Kathryn Frazier, confirmed the news to AFP by email, without giving a reason for the split.

Daft Punk was formed in Paris by Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter. Bangalter and de Homem-Christo met at a Paris school in 1987. Prior to Daft Punk, they formed a rock band called Darlin’, inspired by the Beach Boys song of the same name, with their friend Laurent Brancowitz in 1992 and released a song on a compilation on Stereolab’s Duophonic label.

The duo initially found success with the international hit single ‘Da Funk’ which hit like a bomb in 1995. The disco track with pulsating house beats and distorted vocals gave the dance a new, fresh sound to the world. The track topped the Billboard dance charts and earned them their first Grammy nomination.

From “Da Funk” in 1995 to “Get Lucky” in 2013, Daft Punk became the torch-bearers for French house music across the globe, winning six Grammy awards and pioneering the monumental sound-and-light shows that came to characterise the electronic dance movement of recent years. 

It’s unbelievable, but one of the most successful electronic formations in the history of music has released only four albums: Homework, Discovery, Human After All and finally Random Access Memories with the highly successful single Get Lucky.

The debut album Homework (1997) in addition to “Da Funk” also became even more popular around the World, and now it is generally recognized as a masterpiece, thanks to its flawless pop feeling, which crossed the boundaries of dance. The success of Daft Punk then also drew other French electronic dance music from Air, Cassius and Motorbass out of the shadows.

From the second album Discovery (2001) which thanks to songs like One More Time and Stronger by Kanye West sampled, Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger, would only increase Daft Punk’s status as dance innovators, the duo showed themselves only in robotic suits with a full-face helmet.

Still leading in live dance is their ‘pyramid’ tour from 2007, with which they also performed in the then Heineken Music Hall. It was not clear exactly how or what they did, but who was there could not but determine that dance from the concert stage had never sounded so exciting before.

In the years that followed, the duo became more enigmatic and iconic. In 2013 they would surprise the pop world again by collaborating with two other legends, Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers. The collaboration resulted in Get Lucky, one of the strongest pop singles of the last ten years.

And in 2014 Grammys where Daft Punk really took the spotlight, winning album of the year for Random Access Memories and making history as the first electronic act to win the highest honour at the Grammys. The duo won four awards that night, including a record of the year for their bombshell hit Get Lucky, featuring Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers.

Three years later they scored their first US No.1 hit with Starboy, a collaboration with The Weeknd. The duo had largely kept a low profile since then and yesterday they announced their split-up. Let’s hope reunion gigs remain a possibility!

Here are 10 essential Daft Punk tracks that we recommend you listen to.

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