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Shaping ‘Random Access Memories’ and a Decade of Daft Punk’s Musical Impact 

Get familiar with the styles that inspired Random Access Memories and explore the album’s impact on popular music in the 10 years since its release.

Electronic

Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo were the men behind the robot masks that became the hallmark of French electronic music duo Daft Punk. The pair joined forces in 1993, taking their name from a negative review of their first musical experiment, and gained popularity in the late ’90s by bringing elements of funk, disco, rock, techno, and synth-pop styles into France’s house music movement.

Daft Punk brought worldwide attention to French house music with the release of their debut album, Homework, in 1997, but it was their 2001 follow-up, Discovery, that cemented the duo’s place as one of the most influential dance music acts in history. In the years that followed, Bangalter and de Homem-Christo worked on various creative projects, including their third studio album, an acclaimed tour, a cult-favorite sci-fi movie, and the film score for Tron: Legacy.

The seemingly homogenous state of electronic music in the 2010s prompted Daft Punk to take a different approach with the production of their fourth studio album, Random Access Memories. The duo chose to work primarily with live instrumentation instead of samples and limited their use of electronic instruments to a modular synthesizer and vintage vocoders.

Random Access Memories (10th Anniversary Edition)
Daft Punk
2023
Electronic, Electro
Vinyl, Album, Limited Edition
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On RAM, Daft Punk’s influences and collaborators are often one and the same — Nile Rodgers, Paul Williams, and Giorgio Moroder contributed the ’70s and ’80s sounds that can be heard on the album. And recording in several of California’s iconic recording studios, including Henson, Conway, and Capitol, helped lend RAM its West Coast air. The original 180-gram vinyl pressing of this celebrated album can be found in over 62,000 music fans’ record collections on Discogs, making it the most collected record in the community.

As Daft Punk’s final album celebrates its 10th anniversary in May 2023 — and receives a deluxe reissue on vinyl at the same time — get familiar with the music that influenced the creation of Random Access Memories and explore recent releases that highlight its lasting impact on popular music.

5 Albums That Inspired Daft Punk

Risqué
by Chic

Disco, Funk
Risqué
Chic
1979
Funk / Soul, Disco
Vinyl, Album
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Composer, producer, and guitarist Nile Rodgers is the co-founder of disco-funk group Chic. Chic’s hit “Good Times” from their 1979 album, Risqué, was a favorite of Bangalter’s, who called the song “timeless” — Daft Punk even sampled the track on their 2001 song “Around The World.” The duo co-wrote three of RAM’s songs with Rodgers, including “Lose Yourself to Dance” and “Get Lucky.”


Bad Girls
by Donna Summer

Bad Girls
Donna Summer
1979
Synth-pop, Disco
Vinyl, Album
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While working in Munich in the 1970s, singer Donna Summer met songwriter and record producer Giorgio Moroder, who thrust her into the international spotlight with several electronic dance hits. Moroder’s production, including his work on her 1979 album Bad Girls, helped Summer become one of the defining voices of the disco era. A monologue about Moroder’s career is included in RAM’s tracklist.


One Nation Under A Groove
by Funkadelic

Funk, P.Funk, Psychedelic Rock
One Nation Under A Groove
Funkadelic
1978
Funk / Soul
Vinyl, Album
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Funkadelic, formed in 1968, was a funk-rock band led by singer, songwriter, and record producer George Clinton. Known as one of the innovators of the funk style, Clinton was listed among Daft Punk’s influences on the track “Teachers” from their debut album. While still a funk album at its core, One Nation Under A Groove drew much of its influence from prog-rock and artists like Jimi Hendrix and Sly Stone.


Oxygène
by Jean-Michel Jarre

Electronic, Ambient
Oxygène
Jean-Michel Jarre
1976
Electronic, Pop, Ambient
Vinyl, Album, Repress
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French composer and producer Jean-Michel Jarre is an electronic and ambient music pioneer. As an early adopter of synthesizers and other electronic instruments, Jarre’s music was the precursor for acts like Daft Punk. His third album, Oxygène, was recorded in a home studio using a mix of analog and digital synthesizers.


Rumours
by Fleetwood Mac

Rumours
Fleetwood Mac
2011
Classic Rock, Pop Rock, Soft Rock
Vinyl, Reissue
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Wanting to push boundaries and cut down on their use of samples, Daft Punk looked to several classic albums with complex production for inspiration. The pair recorded live synthesizers in-studio and borrowed mixing and layering techniques used by Fleetwood Mac in Rumours.

5 Albums That Random Access Memories Influenced

Starboy
by The Weeknd

Contemporary R&B, Pop Rap
Starboy
The Weeknd
2017
Contemporary R&B, Dance-pop
Vinyl, Album, Translucent Red
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Previously known for his unique brand of trap-flavored R&B, The Weeknd began experimenting with new wave, disco, and electronic styles on his third studio album Starboy. The album, bookended by tracks featuring production and vocals from Daft Punk, earned Bangalter and de Homem-Christo their first Billboard chart-topper and set the stage for The Weeknd’s later electro- and synth-pop releases.


Times
by SG Lewis

Electro, Deep House, Nu-Disco
Times
SG Lewis
2021
Electro, Deep House
Vinyl, Album
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English singer-songwriter and producer SG Lewis released his debut studio album, Times, in 2021 after working as a resident DJ at a club in Liverpool. A self-proclaimed “massive” fan of Daft Punk, Lewis’s album features collaborations with Lucky Daye, Robyn, and Channel Tres over disco, funk, and electro-pop tracks.


Parcels
by Parcels

Nu-Disco, Funk
Parcels
Parcels
2018
Nu-Disco, Funk
Vinyl, Album
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Australian music group Parcels describes their music as a blend between electro-pop, disco, and soul styles. They burst onto the scene with their 2017 single “Overnight,” produced by Daft Punk, after a chance meeting with the duo a year earlier. In 2018, Parcels released their self-titled, summery ’70s electronic pop debut.


Future Nostalgia
by Dua Lipa

Future Nostalgia
Dua Lipa
2020
Electronic, Pop, Disco, Dance-pop
Vinyl, LP, Album (also available on pink, yellow, or blue vinyl)
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Wanting to achieve a more modern electronic sound with pop sensibilities, singer Dua Lipa dove head first into the 2020s disco revival. Her work with writer-producers Stuart Price and Ian Kirkpatrick on her second studio album Future Nostalgia spawned the hits “Don’t Start Now” and “Levitating.”


An Evening With Silk Sonic
by Silk Sonic

Contemporary R&B, Soul, Funk, Disco
An Evening With Silk Sonic
Silk Sonic
2022
Funk / Soul
LP, Transparent Yellow Vinyl
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Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak reached back to earlier decades for inspiration while creating their collaborative album An Evening With Silk Sonic. While the record isn’t electronic, its production drips with the same nostalgia for the ’70s and ’80s soul and funk styles that influenced Daft Punk while making RAM.

Essential Daft Punk Releases

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