French electronic music duo, formed of Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo (1974- ) and Thomas Bangalter (1975- ), who conceal their identities by dressing as Robots for public appearances. Robotic and Machine imagery dominates their output and is reflected in song titles such as "Aerodynamic", "Digital Love", "Short Circuit", "Robot Rock" and "Technologic". Heavily processed, robotic vocals are also a signature.
They first came to prominence with their powerhouse 1995 debut single "Da Funk", a circling electro-house stomp. The video for the follow-up single "Around The World" (1997) was directed by Michel Gondry and featured dancers dressed as swimmers, skeletons and Androids. Both singles were included on Homework (1997), a melange of various styles of electronic music which was widely seen as one of the definitive dance albums of the decade. "Around The World" debuted in this album before its single release.
They then changed direction with the much poppier Discovery (2001) which, while commercially successful, was considered by some as a regressive step for its embrace of stadium pomp and 1970s guitars. In a fitting touch of hubris, the album was adapted into a feature-length animated film, Interstella 5555 (2003). This was followed by the difficult third album Human After All (2005), a dud. Most recently, Daft Punk provided the score for Tron: Legacy (2010) – perhaps the most effective part of the film and a perfect match with the visual design – and also had a cameo as robot DJs in a scene with Michael Sheen's ersatz David Bowie. [ML]
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