Daft Punk: “Alive” in Color

This story first appeared in Chromatic: The Crossroads of Color and Music. Order your copy today.

Daft Punk: Human After All Daft Punk: Human After All (Virgin, 3/15/05)

Daft Punk: “Technologic”

[audio:http://alarmpress.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/daft-punk-technologic.mp3|titles=Daft Punk: “Technologic”]

As the story goes, Daft Punk’s Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo became robots at exactly 9:09 a.m. on September 9, 1999, in a freak sampler-related accident. However ridiculous, this bit of science fiction may fit no one better than the world-famous French dance duo, whose digitized existence has taken on a mythology of its own. Despite limited material and general unavailability, Daft Punk has managed to grow its legend and vast following, and this hands-off approach has led to speculation and hearsay that do more for the band’s popularity than an interview ever could. Of course, Daft Punk’s prestige is also due to one of the most talked-about live shows of the past decade.

By the early 21st Century, Bangalter and de Homem-Christo had achieved near-ubiquity on a global scale — whether listeners recognized their music as Daft Punk songs or not. But even after the two invented a new origin and delivered a new studio album — Human After All in 2005 — listeners felt like they knew the story. Initial reviews of Human After All criticized the album for being repetitive and not as elaborate, and some felt that the mystique was gone.

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Qua: A Digital-Analog “One-Stop Shop” for Texture, Color, and Melody

This story first appeared in Chromatic: The Crossroads of Color and Music. Order your copy today.

Qua: Q&AQua: Q&A (Electric Dreams, 4/27/10)

Qua: “Circles”

[audio:http://alarm-magazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/Qua_Circles.mp3|titles=Qua: “Circles”]

Given the proliferation of programmable equipment and digital production techniques, kids all over the world are growing up and playing music without ever touching a physical instrument. Who can blame them? Nearly every imaginable texture, pitch, effect, and beat is just a few clicks away. This sea change from analog to digital musicianship hasn’t just changed the way that we create music; it has changed the way that we see music too. Distinctly electronic timbres are coupled with the colorful swirls of an iTunes visualizer, the bright strobe lights of a dance club, and the neon aesthetics of genre giants like Daft Punk and MIA.

Though he grew up playing guitar in rock bands, Cornel Wilczek, better known as Australian electronic artist Qua, set aside his guitar and took the solo electronic road early in his career. His decision was made possible by a discovery of electronic music, a genre wherein Wilczek realized that he could become, as he says, a “one-stop shop.” He could handle production and technical duties without having to rely on anyone but himself.

At 17, Wilczek won a Yamaha guitar competition and moved to the USA to do session work and guitar demonstrations. “It was really quite amazing at the time,” Wilczek says, “but it was also the end of an era for me, because I had met so many of my guitar and music idols who were complete assholes. I actually came back [to Australia] and stopped playing guitar for about five years, and that’s when I found electronic music.”

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Victor Villarreal to release Invisible Cinema on 1/24 via Joyful Noise

Guitar whiz Victor Villarreal (Cap’n Jazz, Owls, Ghosts & Vodka, Joan of Arc) has announced the release of his first solo full-length on Joyful Noise. The record, Invisible Cinema, is due January 24 and will be limited to 250 copies of clear vinyl. Listen to the track “Enters” below.

Victor Villarreal: “Enters”
[audio:http://alarm-magazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/jnr84.mp3|titles=Victor Villarreal: “Enters”]

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Concert Photos: M83 @ Lincoln Hall (Chicago, IL)

M83, the French electro-pop act led by multi-instrumentalist Anthony Gonzalez, played to a capacity crowd at Chicago’s Lincoln Hall last week. The band’s latest release, Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, has garnered heaps of hype since its release last month, and the crowd was buzzing in anticipation of hearing the tunes live. Though critical praise has been ample, mainstream success had, until recently, eluded the band. On this night, bathed in shades of pink and blue, M83 put on a show befitting its newfound indie-darling status. Photos by Wallo Villacorta.

M83

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Concert Photos: Tune-Yards @ Lincoln Hall (Chicago, IL)

Last week, avant-garde songstress Merrill Garbus and her band, Tune-Yards, made their second stop of the year in Chicago in support of their latest full-length, Whokill. Known for its use of looped drum and vocal patterns and ukelele in live performances, Tune-Yards creates a diverse whirlwind that spans from doo-wop to hip hop to folk. Photographer Elizabeth Gilmore snapped these shots of Garbus and company (in their signature face paint) at Lincoln Hall.

Tune-Yards

Tune-Yards

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