10 Daft Punk Deep Cuts to Check Out Right Now
Move over, R2D2 and C-3PO. Daft Punk are probably the most famous robots in cultural history.
Together, Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo are bigger than the sum of their parts. The French electronic duo formed in 1993 and only just announced their retirement on Monday, February 22.
You’d think someone had died the way fans started gobbling up records. According to Discogs’ own data, the band’s catalog saw a 243% increase in Collection adds, a 2,714% increase in Wantlist adds, and a 3,763% increase in sales after the announcement. Billboard reported 6.76 million on-demand streams of the band’s songs that single day, a 242% increase from the day before. It’s likely you were one of those figures – but what were you listening to? “One More Time” 700 times?
You need to Daft your Punk up. Between the robots’ four studio albums, three remix LPs, two live albums, the Tron: Legacy soundtrack, and a singular compilation, there are a ton of great jams to be had. Even among those mints, there are some gems that deserve to be mixed a heck of a lot more than they are. Big shoutout to Homework‘s “Oh Yeah” for being one of the hardest bass tunes that barely gets played. Still, there are even more left-field recordings you might be shocked to hear.
No matter how big of a fan you are, we’re willing to bet there’s at least one track on this list that’s new to you. From rare remixes to bonus tracks, early B-sides, and classic French hip-hop, these are some of the best Daft Punk deep cuts you need in rotation.
Daft Punk – “The New Wave” (1994)
You’ve gotta have some nerve to name your first track “The New Wave,” but Daft Punk was absolutely right. Any good Daft Punk fan knows the story of how Bangalter and de Homem-Christo started in a rock trio named Darlin’ alongside would-be Phoenix guitarist Laurent Brancowitz. They released one EP and a critic called it “a daft punky thrash.” Darlin’ soon broke up, Bangalter and de Homem-Christo dropped their instruments and grabbed some electronic equipment, and the rest is history. That history started with this seven-plus minute thumper. Dark, heavy, and repetitive, “The New Wave” captures everything great about the duo’s more industrial side. It would go on to get reworked and remixed with a throbbing synth line, then rereleased as “Alive,” the penultimate track on debut LP Homework. That also marks it as the song that would give a name to both their own international tours. Kind of a big deal, after all.
I:Cube, “Disco Cubizm” (Daft Punk Remix) (1996)
Fellow Frenchmen I:Cube‘s original track “Disco Cubizm” is a jazzy, funky bit of French touch groove based around three sped-up samples of a 1979 song called “Street Life” by The Crusaders featuring Randy Crawford. A blissful melody twinkles across a pounding house beat, and Daft Punk somehow brings even more tropical shine out its brightness, giving the tune an almost bossanova swing that somehow does not become grating after eight minutes of play. Slamming vogue drums a la “The Ha Dance,” swirling sirens, and some signature, early Daft vinyl-flicks round this out as a bonafide classic. Put this on when you’re ready to lounge by the pool for an entire day.
Ian Pooley, “Chord Memory” (Daft Punk Remix) (1996)
German DJ and producer Ian Pooley crafted a beautiful blend of mechanics and nature with his 1996 single “Chord Memory.” Teeming with electric edge, B-boy attitude, and emotional atmospheres, it’s worthy of a spin in its own right. Daft Punk rocks it with even more disco, adding a double-thump bass drum, a funky walking bass line, dreamy violin samples, dynamite dynamics, club-ready vocals, and that famous “WDPK 83.7 FM” radio voice. It fills it seven minutes with so many heart wrenching, sweat dripping, head knockin’ twists and turns, you have no choice but to call it a “journey.”
Scott Grooves – “Mothership Reconnection” feat. Parliament, Funkadelic (Daft Punk Mix) (1998)
In 1975, funk pioneers Parliament released an album called Mothership Connection. It’s a classic, and its titular track has been sampled many times over by Snoop Dogg, Warren G, and others. In 1998, the band got with Detroit electro boss Scott Grooves for a futuristic smoke-machine rework called “Mothership Reconnection,” and Daft Punk – now world famous as a leader of the new school – was tapped for a soulful, bleep bloop remix. It’s delightfully-synth heavy, punchy with perfect Daft Punk walking bass, and totally chopped, freaked, and scrambled like an electro egg. It’s a real head trip, and it’s certainly not to be missed.
Daft Punk – “Aerodynamite” (2001)
“Aerodynamic” is a fan favorite from the group’s sophomore classic Discovery, but have you ever heard the B-side? Remixed directly by Daft Punk, “Aerodynamite” brings a heftier, bossier beat and club-forward attitude. While the original is famous for that electric guitar solo, this version is all slamming synths. It’s kind of like what “Aerodynamic” would have sounded like it was on Homework instead. Once again, the robots manage to make a seven-plus minute song sound amazing. There’s also a bangin’ noise crescendo, which we’d get a lot of on the duo’s third album Human After All. Who said you needed to wait for Alive 2007 to see how they all fit together?
Daft Punk, “Aerodynamic” (Slum Village Remix) (2001)
Even more interesting was the Slum Village remix of “Aerodynamic.” Way before Busta Rhymes put his spin on “Technologic,” the Detroit trio showed us what hip hop could do with Daft Punk’s style. The story goes that Slum Village (Baatin, T3, and J Dilla) sampled Bangalter’s track “Extra Dry” without asking permission, but rather than demand royalties, the electro duo and their manager, Pedro Winter, decided a remix from Slum Village would suffice. That just has to be one of the most legendary tales of creatives holding up other creatives, and it gave us this mean-street beat, which we’re more than thankful for.
113 – “Fout la Merde” Feat. Thomas Bangalter (2002)
Daft Punk must have liked the way they sounded on a rap record, because just a year later, Bangalter hooked up with classic French rappers 113 for a totally funkdafied party anthem. It might just be the closest thing to French G-funk we’ve ever heard (and if there’s more, please do share). Bangalter uses his robot voice on the chorus, and he even appears in the music video; a rare, silly cameo from Daft Punk. Interesting to note, 113 worked closely with hip-hop producer DJ Mehdi who would go on to release on the label Ed Banger, which was run by Daft Punk’s manager, and become one of the early stars of the “bloghouse” dance music scene.
Daft Punk – “Horizon” (2013)
We’re taking quite a leap in time, past Human After All, past the world-changing live show that was Alive 2007, and right into Daft’s final album, Random Access Memories. It’s a sumptuous, soulful delight of a record, the culmination of all Daft Punk’s power into one shining beacon of what music can be – something that brings people together to celebrate life, love, and wisdom. They gathered all their favorite musicians, producers, and artists in the studio and created an opus, but this track, which feels very reminiscent of Pink Floyd’s most beautiful psychedelic hymns, was created by themselves and only released as a bonus track on the Japanese edition. It’s one of the most touching tunes in the duo’s catalog, and we truly hope it doesn’t pass you by.
Kanye West – “On Sight” (2013)
Despite the fact that RAM was a heart-wrenching, hip-moving masterpiece, some people wanted to complain that it wasn’t heavy enough, that it wasn’t “EDM” enough. To that we say, just listen to Yeezus then! Daft Punk worked with Kanye West on four of the album’s tracks, including the hard opening suite of “On Sight,” “Black Skinhead,” and “I Am a God.” This might not be super “deep cut,” but we bet you forgot about this, didn’t you? You’re all, “So cool that Daft Punk worked with The Weeknd on Starboy and got their first and only Billboard No. 1,” when really, these Yeezus tracks might be some of the hardest.
Parcels – “Overnight” (2017)
Are you ready for something sad? This is the last song Daft Punk ever made. Turns out, when Australian electro-pop band Parcels played its first show in Paris, Daft Punk was in the audience. They liked what they heard, and they asked to work with the band in the studio. Parcels played a demo of “Overnight” for the duo, and Daft Punk was in. In an interview with TripleJ, Parcel’s keyboardist Patrick Hetherington said “we spent seven days in the studio with them, every day from 12 midday up until 4 in the morning, literally working on it overnight.” It took a year to get the song to what we hear now, and it became an international hit for the band. It was also an unknown farewell from our robot friends. Parting is such sweet sorrow.
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