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Daft Punk announces their end

A cyber conclusion

Illustration: Coleman Conley • The Sentry
Electronic duo calls it quits after three decades.

French electronic duo Daft Punk—composed of Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter—have officially broken up.

The group released a video titled “Epilogue” on Feb. 22. The first portion of the video is in complete silence, as the duo heads out helmeted across a desert. They walk side by side until they turn and face one another. Despite the impassive masks, the two share what is clearly a long and heartfelt goodbye—simply staring at one another.  

Bangalter removes his coat and turns his back to Homem-Christo, revealing a small contraption on his back. Homem-Christo after long deliberation sets the contraption to 60 seconds. Bangalter paces away from him as the timer runs out. He turns and faces his bandmate—and explodes. The outro of their song, “Touch,” fades in as the video fades to black and is replaced by the timeline: 1993-2021. As the song finishes out, Homem-Christo walks out to the sunset alone to the repeating lyrics—“if love is the answer, you’re home / Hold On.”

Flashback nearly three decades, and the two first became a duo after separating their former rock trio, Darlin’, looking to explore the electronic music sound more seriously. Within a year, they dropped their first single, “The New Wave.” While they infiltrated the electronic scene in the ‘90s, with their first worldwide hit, “Da Funk,” in ‘95, they broke new barriers in 2006 with a legendary performance—the pyramid stage.  

During the year’s Coachella festival, four times the tent’s capacity of people filled the scene in anticipation of their set. The two disco robots revealed themselves and through a slow barrage of flashing lights, the pyramid. Their faceless fame, as Bangaltar saw it, was like Batman; “we feel that the pyramid was like our Batmobile,” he said in an interview with Pitchfork.  

The impressive light show was keenly timed into the set. Music journalist Michaelangelo Matos recalled in Daft Punk Unchained, “No one had seen that level of production. Everybody who was in the tent was texting everybody else: ‘You are missing this! This is the greatest thing I’ve ever seen.’”  

In their break into the mainstream, the duo revealed that extending outside of the niche of the genre, the two had a keen sense of mystery, reveal, and story. That same year, they released the film Electroma.  “[T]hat followed the story of these two robots which are in the desert that were somehow desperately trying to become human,” Bangalta said in an interview with NPR. “It’s maybe something we felt, which is we are two robots trying to become human. So it meets halfway; it has this kind of a cyborg and droid quality, but it seems that it’s a story that has some emotion with it.”  

Their exit video directly ties back into this film, with the two back out in the desert. It’s a clear ode to the holistic story of their time together. While the duo did not announce a reason for the split, they don’t need to. The duo has always been interested in the music over the esteem: “Looking at robots is not like looking at an idol,”  Homem-Christo said in an inteview with Pitchfork. “It’s not a human being, so it’s more like a mirror—the energy people send to the stage bounces back, and everybody has a good time together rather than focusing on us.”

This is a selection from the March 17 issue. To view the full issue, visit: https://online.flippingbook.com/view/485491858/

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