Daft Punk - Random Access Memories: Drumless Edition

Regular price $ 42.99

Daft Punk celebrated the tenth anniversary of Random Access Memories' release with not one but two special editions of their nostalgic 2013 masterpiece. The first was a typical deluxe edition that added demos and outtakes; the second, Random Access Memories (Drumless Edition), honored the album by removing one of its most definitive elements -- the beat. Given that the duo's legacy is so grounded in Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter's way with propulsive rhythms, it seems like a counterintuitive choice, but like all of Daft Punk's moves, it's thoughtfully considered, and Random Access Memories (Drumless Edition) provides deeper insight into their music than might be expected.

On a purely musical level, stripping away the beats makes it easier to savor the beauty of the album's tones, whether it's the sparkling keyboards and shimmying rhythm guitars on "Give Life Back to Music" -- a song whose title feels especially apt in this context -- or the majesty of the strings, brass, and pedal steel on "Beyond." Likewise, the depth of the vocal arrangements comes into focus with high-def clarity. This version of "Instant Crush" reveals the fine mesh of Julian Casablancas' processed and unprocessed vocals, while Panda Bear's harmonies stretch higher toward the heavens on "Doing It Right," one of several songs that sound more natural here than on the album's original incarnation. Random Access Memories (Drumless Edition) also underscores how the duo's expert arrangements convey rhythm without a hint of percussion. Minus its slithering disco beat, "Lose Yourself to Dance" is still slinky enough to work up a sweat, but the arching layers of vocodered counterpoint that push it forward make it feel more like a piece for robot ballet than a dancefloor mover.

Though the original Random Access Memories was a glorious tug of war between proudly indulgent moments and savvy pop, the drumless edition heightens its power as a sci-fi concept album about retaining, or regaining, humanity. This is most apparent on "Touch," which lays bare the rainbow of emotions within the music and Paul Williams' masterful vocals, and "Within," which attains a ghostly poignancy as it floats away in solitary fantasy. Along with "Motherboard," it's one of the deeper cuts that comes to the forefront on Random Access Memories (Drumless Edition). However, it might be even more impressive that the album manages to give life back to "Get Lucky" -- a single that still received considerable airplay around the time the anniversary reissues appeared -- by emphasizing the warmth in its grooving keyboards and Pharrell's harmonies. That the deluxe reissue of Random Access Memories returned it to the Top Ten of the Billboard 200 albums chart suggests that fans can't get enough of this album. Random Access Memories (Drumless Edition) hints at why that is: it's a work with enough layers that peeling away a few lets the remaining ones shine all the brighter.


A1 Give Life Back To Music 4:35
A2 The Game Of Love 5:22
A3 Giorgio By Moroder 9:04
B1 Within 3:48
B2 Instant Crush 5:37
B3 Lose Yourself To Dance 5:53
C1 Touch 8:18
C2 Get Lucky 6:09
C3 Beyond 4:50
D1 Motherboard 5:41
D2 Fragments Of Time 4:39
D3 Doin' It Right 4:11
D4 Contact 6:23