Random Access Memories: New Daft Punk album tops America's Billboard chart

 

French electronic dance music duo Daft Punk scored their first No. 1 album on the US Billboard 200 album chart on Wednesday, as their risk to use retro technology paid off with fans.

Random Access Memories, the highly anticipated fourth studio album from Daft Punk, sold 339,000 copies in its first week, according to figures from Nielsen SoundScan. That was the group's best sales week to date.

Digital downloads of the album were approximately 65 per cent of overall sales, with 221,000 copies downloaded.

Daft Punk, formed by childhood friends Thomas Bangalter, 38, and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, 39, were at the forefront of electronic dance music in the 1990s, fusing synthesizers and computers to create music on hits such as "Around the World." Daft Punk became popular figures in the dance music field, known for wearing shiny helmets on stage and being elusive and unpredictable.

For the release of their latest album, they stayed away from big stages and instead launched it at a small music festival in the small Australian town of Wee Waa on 17 May, which they themselves did not attend.

After the 2005 album Human After All, Bangalter and de Homem-Christo said they took time out to explore "uncharted territories" in their field, waiting eight years before releasing Random Access Memories.

"It's always been a quest (with the) making of each record, somehow reinventing ourselves a little bit, and this time we feel like it's the same musical influence somehow that we maybe had 15 years ago on our first record," Bangalter told Reuters ahead of the album's release.

Random Access Memories is not just an homage to the dance floor music of the late 1970s but an attempt to capture the actual time period itself, the duo said.

"If you listen to Pink Floyd records or the majority of the albums in the late 1970s, they were really experimenting with art, elegance, radicality and integrity," Bangalter said. "That was inspiring for this record, to try to do something that has certain elegance and certain experimentation to it."

The new album features numerous collaborators, including singer Julian Casablancas of the Strokes, veteran Italian music producer Giorgio Moroder and R&B singer Pharrell Williams, who lent his vocals to the raunchy dance floor track "Get Lucky."

After inspiring a new wave of electronic dance music DJs in the past decade that has included David Guetta, Random Access Memories sees Daft Punk strip away all digital components, recording solely with live instruments onto analog tape in a studio setting.

"Digital technologies are more efficient at working on other aspects of music, like dynamic and energetic qualities," Bangalter said.

"In the same way that sometimes a film camera seems to grab a moment in raw emotion than with a digital camera, that's what analog tape usually is ... it tends to - and we don't know why - grab a magic moment that is emotional."

The risk of going analog appears to have paid off, as the duo topped the Billboard chart with the second-highest debut album of the year, behind only Justin Timberlake's The 20/20 Experience, which opened in March with 968,000 copies.

"Get Lucky," which first premiered as a music video broadcast at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Southern California in April, has been streamed more than 33 million times globally on Spotify since its April 18 release.

Daft Punk led four new albums debuting in the top 10 of the Billboard chart this week. Darius Rucker, frontman of rock group Hootie & the Blowfish, entered the chart at No. 2 this week with his country solo effort, True Believers, selling 83,000 copies.

Rock band The National landed at No. 3 with Trouble Will Find Me, while rapper French Montana rounded out the debuts in the top 10 this week with his first album, Excuse My French, at No. 4.

Rockers 30 Seconds to Mars landed at No. 6 the album Love Lust Faith + Dreams, while last week's chart-toppers, Vampire Weekend, fell to No. 7 this week as sales of Modern Vampires of the City dropped by 64 per cent.

Reuters

Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Hewer is to leave The Apprentice after 10 years

TV review Nick Hewer, the man whose eyebrows speak a thousand words, is set to leave The Apprentice

Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says

film George RR Martin owns a cinema in Santa Fe

Arts and Entertainment
Clued up: John Lynch and Gillian Anderson in ‘The Fall’

TV review

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Rhys says: 'I'm not playing it for laughs, but I have learnt that if you fall over on stage, people can enjoy that as much as an amazing guitar solo'
musicGruff Rhys on his rock odyssey, and the trouble with independence
Arts and Entertainment
Krysia and Daniel (Hand out press photograph provided by Sally Richardson)
How do today's composers answer the challenge of the classical giant?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
News
Shenaz Treasurywala
film
News
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Watkins as Christopher Jefferies
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars Director JJ Abrams: key character's names have been revealed
film
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams won two BBC Music Awards for Best Song and International Artist
music
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump

TV

Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

film
Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

TV
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

    Panto dames: before and after

    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

    Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
    The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

    The man who hunts giants

    A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
    The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

    The 12 ways of Christmas

    We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
    Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

    The male exhibits strange behaviour

    A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
    Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

    Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

    Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

    The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'