Monday, May 11, 2009

Daft Love

Very very occasionally, a working stiff like me will get a moment to breathe, a chance to step away from the drawing table and experience normal life, like all those multitudes in the world who get two days off for every five they work. What do guys like me do when those rare, precious moments arise...?

Um, draw. Sad but true.

And here's the real testament to just how rare and precious those moments actually are: I started the Daft Punk fan art above some time in August of 2008.

I came late to the Daft Punk party. Despite being a fiend for all kinds of electronica and digging the 'Da Funk' video, I didn't really pay close attention to these guys until I caught a screening of their Interstella 5555 at RESfest (RIP) years ago. After that I was hooked.

It was to be their next film Electroma, though, that would really get under my skin, despite not actually having any music by Daft Punk in it.
Who knew, back in the late 90's that Daft Punk would turn into what they turned into? They showed up hawking a minimalist, just-out-of-date electro groove, at, what was arguably the heydey of lavish, high-production electronica, but it clicked and, strangely, they were totally embraced by indie-rock kids too. More than 10 years later, it's inarguable that they've spawned their own sub-genre of fuzzy, thumping dance music. Without Daft Punk there would be no MSTRKRFT, no Boyz Noise or Justice. Maybe even no Chromeo. DFA records might still exist, but it would probably sound a little different.

I wasn't sure if I liked Electroma after my first viewing. I found myself thinking that maybe it was a bit self-indulgent and, I'm ashamed to admit, I fast forwarded through some of the slow parts. And there were many slow parts, or, not slow exactly. Rather, long. Long takes, long shots, many of them eerily silent. But as days went by, it haunted me. I found myself going back to youtube again and again to re-watch certain scenes, like this one:

And this one:

Electroma is not about narrative satisfaction. There is a story, but it's extremely decompressed and archetypal to the point where it's debateable that it's there at all. What Electroma is about is moment and mood. It's haunting and beautiful and it will get under your skin and stay with you if you let it. Needless to say, it is excellent background to draw and write to. Especially if what you are drawing or writing is sweeping and morose, as what I do so often is.
Apparently, Electroma was originally conceived, shot, and editied as a visual accompaniment for the Human After All album, and the film is said to sync up perfectly with it (see below) which explains some of the long stretches of silence in the official score. The sync job down there is a little shakey, and I have yet to try it out with the whole film and the whole album, but you get the idea. Further below that is the same opening scene with a custom score featuring M83, which, I think, works even better, both in terms of tone and syncing. See the whole movie re-scored by that guy here.

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