Random Access Memories - Daft Punk -- One of the Greatest Ever Albums.

Discussion in 'Odds & Ends' started by Nathaniel_Near, May 22, 2013.

  1. Nathaniel_Near

    Nathaniel_Near G.O.A.T.

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    Relax folks, ...
    I am being entirely serious.


    How does a song of this quality not make it onto the main record other than in its Japanese release.


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhHYDFc4Rck


    I'm speechless. Veridis Quo version 2.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2013
    #1
  2. zapvor

    zapvor Legend

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    i am downloading the cd now cant wait
     
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  3. Sander001

    Sander001 Hall of Fame

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    I'm planning on listening to RAM tomorrow, really look forward to it. Wasn't a huge DP fan until Tron.
    How they didn't even get an Oscar nomination for Tron is a pure humiliation for the Academy. A brilliant score, even loved the remix, R3configured.
     
    #3
  4. Seth

    Seth Hall of Fame

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    OP, that song is wonderful.
     
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  5. diredesire

    diredesire Super Moderator

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    I'm really liking "The Game of Love," but I'm not sure I'd call this one of the greatest albums ever...

    I have a feeling this will have good replay value, though.
     
    #5
  6. ST_spitzertelescope

    ST_spitzertelescope Semi-Pro

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    They spent a lot of money paying paid musicians to record them playing their instruments. It's going to sound professional. Personally I enjoyed the album but I feel they've focused too much on the sound quality than tunes. It'll be a huge success for them, but for me I'm into songs that progress a bit more throughout.
     
    #6
  7. Bartelby

    Bartelby G.O.A.T.

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    The philosophy of the album seems a bit like Bowie's Pin-ups albums, perhaps?
     
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  8. TennisLovaLova

    TennisLovaLova Hall of Fame

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    Just like Prodigy's "music for the jilted generation", daft punk set the bar really high with homework.
    That's why people are so troubled by what followed.

    Liam Howelett and Bangalter are the mozarts of our modern times I guess, only time will judge them.

    Also, some might say that RAM has no tempo, that it is quite flat, but that was deliberate to move away from bass dropping and crazy sounds fx in order to get back to the origins of music...

    And some might also say that disco or funk were boring before and are still as boring now in 2013.

    IMHO Daft Punk's sound was so futuristic in 97 that it almost redesigned the way music is produced and it seems normal now when listening to it.
    RAM is a concept, looking for binary reactions from the audience...
     
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  9. Nathaniel_Near

    Nathaniel_Near G.O.A.T.

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    Relax folks, ...
    Daft Punk are incredible and they are finally going to get more of the recognition that they thoroughly deserve from a more widespread audience, which means that their impact on music and other musicians won't be waning any time soon. The reports suggest that the album will have US sales of 300k in the first week alone, which for a 'dance' album is very impressive.

    This album is truly fantastic, imaginative, progressive whilst also nostalgic, perfectly formed, perfectly balanced, warm, meticulous, organic, rich in quality, and huge on impact.


    CONGRATS.
     
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  10. TennisLovaLova

    TennisLovaLova Hall of Fame

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    I thought this is exactly what they did when they launched Homework in 97: they have fans coming from all musical areas, metal, funk, rap, techno, jazz
    Their sound is universal.
     
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  11. dParis

    dParis Hall of Fame

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    It's a good album, maybe even great - and that alone is saying something since it seems so hard for a group of recent history to produce a great "Album". The OP, as well as others, are chugging the Daft Punk kool-aid at the moment, though. I suppose in a dirth of greatness, very good is in line for a promotion.
     
    #11
  12. TahoeTennis

    TahoeTennis Professional

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    Not that impressed with the album so far, too much hype and the songs
    are mainly *meh*

    if you like this album, check out

    WASHED OUT - within and without
     
    #12
  13. Sander001

    Sander001 Hall of Fame

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    Where have you seen hype?
     
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  14. norbac

    norbac Legend

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    For me its come from friends plus a bunch of really good reviews.
     
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  15. JW10S

    JW10S Hall of Fame

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    After awhile I was expecting to hear Roger Waters come in with some vocals...
     
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  16. Nathaniel_Near

    Nathaniel_Near G.O.A.T.

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    Relax folks, ...
    I will never promote 'very good' and I'm drinking zero DP kool-aid. I just call it how I see it.


    RAM - One of the great albums in history.
     
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  17. Nathaniel_Near

    Nathaniel_Near G.O.A.T.

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    Relax folks, ...


    It's a good album.
     
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  18. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

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    This album is pretty substandard overall. Those who think it's even great have obviously don't have a critical ear for music, let alone electronic music. One review I read called it the album of the decade which opened the writer up to until mocking on social media. I think the original poster may have been too taken in by reviews by people like Neil McCormick from The Telegraph.

    Other than a few select moments the album is too formulaic, predictable and resorts to too many overused ideas (such as the robot voices) which sound more like backing music for a 1970s gameshow than they do a serious attempt to do something fresh. Tons of artists have used old style live guitar licks - it's nothing special at all other than having roped in the legendary Nile Rodgers to help with that.

    The first single 'Get Lucky' is just pre-digested pop drivel - the lyrics are only above average and the singing by Pharrell is pretty average too. Rodgers' guitar licks are about the best part. It will be massive for no other reasons than it has been promoted globally via radio/TV more than probably any electronic single ever made and because it fits perfectly into the inoffensive, middle-ground vibe which pop music is generally required to do.

    So far as rating the whole album goes though, it wont go down in history as anything special outside the insane amount of marketing that is being spent on it. Homework (1997) was truly genius album and Discovery (2001) wasn't half bad either - but both pushed new boundaries and blew people's minds. RAM does neither, it's just the sort of predictable stuff artists come up with when there is untold commercial pressure to do something big. And it even fails slightly at that.

    The best production on this album is 'Giorgio By Moroder'. It has vintage Daft Punk and Moroder style synth work and jazz influences. Moroder's vocals are really cool too.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2013
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  19. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

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    Homework was not really that futuristic when it came out - it was almost deliberately future retro in sound - paying big homage to the 70s and 80s with the sample and production techniques (and gear) they used - big side-chaining, ducking, old-style drum machines (the E-mu SP1200) etc. The reason it was so revered was because it was done so well, was so fresh and funky amongst the far more linear, cold stuff that most non song-based electronic producers of the time were doing. Many French producers who came through in that era had that same raw, jazz-infused thing going on - Etienne De Crecy, Motorbass, I:Cube, Pepe Bradock, Seven Dub, Aleem, early Bob Sinclar etc. Daft Punk just nailed it perfectly with musical simplicity and great videos on their first two globally popular singles (Da Funk and Around The World. The flip side was Rollin & Scratchin, Alive and Indo Silver Club which never made it big)
     
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  20. Nathaniel_Near

    Nathaniel_Near G.O.A.T.

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    Relax folks, ...
    I hadn't read a single review on the album before hearing it. I'm not bothered about those things -- the accusation is outlandish as well as being inaccurate. I just trust my ears which are incredibly well trained and judge it against a library of music that I've heard which is extremely vast and spans more or less every genre and style of music. It's dangerous to accuse others of not having a critical ear because something doesn't match your criteria for greatness or whatever, after all, music is a very subjective thing when judging quality and excellence. A lot of the greatest music ever written didn't sell millions of records.

    Ultimately most people I've ever known well has accused me of lacking a sense for what good music is merely because I listen to so much and respect and appreciate such a myriad of styles that even though there is plenty of material that my friends and family can agree with me on, there is a whole lot more that they can't. It's a shame you don't much enjoy this quite fantastic album!
     
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  21. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

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    OK, I was just reminded of a review I'd read earlier which described the album almost the same as you did. Fair play - anyone can make a call on in.

    Having a vast library of music isn't a prerequisite for having a critical ear. Some people love pop music their entire lives and amass huge collections. Assuming they have a critical ear has no more merit than thinking McDonald's makes the best food because they sell the most.

    So far as judging others on their critical ear. I have a good grasp on the broader genre to form an pretty informed opinion on it -an extremely informed one actually. I haven't yet read an opinion of a music writer who seems to have an even moderate grasp on the genre, or dance music in general, that has rated the album highly.

    I agree though, decision by consensus doesn't exist when it comes to judging the quality of music, but a broad climate of opinion on something can be made pretty quickly. In this case it seems the mainstream music mags/writers who have generally despised house music have suddenly all become lovers of Daft Punk, perhaps stemming from their recently discovered fanaticism with EDM (some have made such suspicious u-turns on their opinion of dance music it makes me think they've been given the royal treatment by the label). Some of them even hated Homework when it came out, which is widely considered one of the best electronic music albums ever. On the other hand, those who have been long-term followers, supporters and shown a keen eye for trends in electronic music have widely said the album is a bit yawn-worthy - even if they attempted something quite interesting.

    I can hear they tried to put it together so it flows from track to track as a one session listen - like great albums albums do. But they fall flat on the material. Discovery was not loved when it came out, purely because it paled so badly in comparison to the earlier Homework. But after a while it grew on you, primarily because of the club play/party potential. It had a fair bit of "sticky" music on it that was hard to ignore. RAM, by contrast, doesn't have enough of that element to it other than a few moments. Without some amazing remixes they wont be able to wring this out for 5 or 6 single releases with as much mojo as 'Get Lucky'.

    Having lived through every moment of house and techno's history while the majority of America ignored it I've got 25+ years of collecting behind me. I know a great electronic album when I hear one and, in five or ten years, this will not be on any top 20 list except ones which rate albums on pure attempts at commercial appeal.

    Listen to Leftfield 'Leftism', Nuyorican Soul 'Nuyorican Soul', Robert Hood 'Minimal Nation', KLF 'The White Room', The Chemical Brothers 'Exit Planet Dust', Underworld 'Dubnobasswithmyheadman' etc and tell me this is even in the same ballpark in terms of artistic quality. It isn't and the majority of people who've had even a passing interest in electronic music over the last two decades would agree. Even if it was a very god album it's not in the league of the above so can hardly be called one of the greatest ever - and that's even if you just confine it to comparisons with other electronic albums, let alone every genre.

    As a baseline level, if you're a fan of all types of music, which ones of the above I listed have you owned? And which of all electronic albums would you rate as being amongst the best of all time?
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2013
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  22. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

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    My mind is still blown with the work they did for Tron: Legacy.
     
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  23. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

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    Which is widely regarded as being amongst the least memorable efforts of their career. It bombed completely too.

    See how people can view the same things so differently?
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2013
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  24. Sander001

    Sander001 Hall of Fame

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    I certainly do. Their Tron album is their 2nd best selling album to date, so I wouldn't say that it bombed at all.
     
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  25. zapvor

    zapvor Legend

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    i like how you guys are refusing to see the other guys point.

    music is subjective dude........25 yrs of experience of whatever doesnt mean anything. if its good to you, its good
     
    #25
  26. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

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    I've learned to ignore him. Dude likes to talk, so just let him talk.

    Very good point. Time to blast my Tron: Legacy OST.
     
    #26
  27. TennisLovaLova

    TennisLovaLova Hall of Fame

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    It's not Bobby's fault if people dont know what they are talking about...
     
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  28. Nathaniel_Near

    Nathaniel_Near G.O.A.T.

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    Relax folks, ...
    For the last time, I mean what I said. Good for you that you are such an expert in the field of variants of electronica music and I can do nothing but commend you for it as you clearly have deep expertise in that area. But when I make a definitive claim like this, I am not taking it lightly. You've offered up some great music suggestions -- the one's I don't own are Nuyorican Soul-Nuyorican Soul (however have heard it before), and Robert Hood Minimal Nation. I proceeded to check it out. Minimal nation is, as the name would suggest, very minimal. It's too minimal for me, as it lacks progression and just creates some sort of perpetuating sonic aura, which can be effective and compelling with a delicate nuanced treatment of material, but usually that isn't present here. It reminds me of listening to the likes of Steve Reich and John Adams (pre 'post-minamlism) but without the same sense of artistry and innovation. Dubnobasswithmyheadman is of course a very good album as is Exit Planet Dust, but I don't hold them absolutely dearly to my heart. As for Leftism, this is undoubtedly a brilliant album and definitely makes it into some imagined list of favourite electronica albums.

    I don't even rate Homework as a particularly great album. It's a successful and effective synthesis of many sounds but all in all the music lacked progression and revelled too much in its own perpertual oscillations. The problem with this music is that listening with a very active ear can lead to boredom. When a minimal idea is nuanced and is then put through a series of transformations, it then becomes very interesting for me -- Giorgio
    by Moroder
    is a great example of this as is In Seven Days by Thomas Adès, both of which start out with minimal, repetitive loops, but slowly develop through various harmonic, textural, and/or timbre nuances as to maintain a sense of a progressive conscience. When the music material stagnates (which can happen very quickly) I find that it tends to be a negative thing and doesn't help the music sing as it could. Homework is somewhat guilty of this to a degree where things change from being an artistic decision to just being slightly lazy (yes, I said it), so I don't hold it in as high esteem as Discovery or RAM.

    Here's a list of albums that I find myself compelled to listen to on a fairly regular basis from genres that fall under the umbrella term of electronica, if you will (dance albums which I love that revolve more around the recording of live instruments have not been included, such as for example Jamiroquai - Dynamite):


    Tangerine Dream - Tangram
    Jean Michel Jarre - Zoolook (specifically Ethnicolor)
    Leftfield - Leftism
    Daft Punk - Random Access Memories
    Daft Punk - Discovery
    Future Sound of London - Lifeforms
    Matrix & Futurebound - Universal Truth
    Basement Jaxx - Rooty
    Jon Hopkins - Insides
    Underworld - And I Will Kiss (not an album but I have to include this track as it's one of the best
    I've ever heard.

    If we are counting Nuyorican Soul, then additionally:

    Massive Attack - Blue Lines (I am using some of their stuff for an ongoing video project)






    For me, the impressive thing about RAM is the pleasing and fulfilling form of the album, which from beginning to end is contoured beautifully, with an array of textures and use of the stereo field. The variety of the album is also commendable. The 'fantasy' or perhaps we could call it a theme and variations of Giorgio by Moroder is an impressive accomplishment that sifts through a series of perceived musical styles almost as though it were a celebration of 'music' rather than dance/electronica. Motherboard is one of the outstanding tracks of the last few years and it shows off some pretty impressive compositional chops. The variety of instrumentation and timbre used in this track as well as the generally spacious treatment of the musical ideas make it a joy to behold.

    Skills shown in one genre of music spill over to another genre in a very rudimentary fashion, so I don't view the judgment of a 'dance' album as being dependant on my specific level of expertise in listening to that one type of music, as though that will inform me more 'critically' on how to judge an album from the genre in question. I take a more holistic and absolute approach in my judgment of music and what sounds great to me. You voice your opinions in a very direct and often belligerent way which is fine actually but with something like music I think it's just a little bit misplaced, because it is so wildly subjective.

    One of the most irritating things about the perception of music is the idea of 'high art' and 'low art' and the baseless connotations that the terms hold. It would be true to say that there are even pop songs that show a higher degree of complexity than some of Mozart's compositions. I find any of the albums I listed to be just as artistic, brilliant and compelling as Atmospheres by Ligeti, and I have no real sense of prejudice or an assumption of hierarchy regarding any one single musical genre over another.

    Finally, given your fantastic expertise in the field of dance and techno, feel free to suggest more albums that I should be listening to. I always love to absorb new music from others like a sponge and constantly increase my listening bank (it never works the other way around though. I show people things and they go nah or yeh! and then never listen to it again).

    Cheers.
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2013
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  29. Nathaniel_Near

    Nathaniel_Near G.O.A.T.

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    I forgot to address The White Room by KLF; another very good album.
     
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  30. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

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    It's a sound-track, not an album. Big difference which gives it an obvious advantage of being marketed as such, unlike an album.

    Notwithstanding it went gold in only two countries, France and Australia, and platinum in none. Around the World alone sold over 100,000 singles which is more than those two above combined.
     
    #30
  31. Nathaniel_Near

    Nathaniel_Near G.O.A.T.

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    It's quite difficult to reconcile the finer semantic points regarding what constitutes an album and what doesn't. Ultimately it's all music, so should I ever feel compelled to make a list of my favourite 'albums', I will view it as a list of my fave collections of music, and thus that will include what we generally accept as albums, as well as soundtracks and singular pieces (of a length and depth suitable to be regarded as a collection of music, as one unit, for example Eroica from deaf boy Beethoven).
     
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  32. Sander001

    Sander001 Hall of Fame

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    But the art of backpedaling is something I'd like to learn :)
     
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  33. thejackal

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    I bought Discovery back when it came out 11+ years ago and still listen to the tracks on it on a regular basis. could not say the same for any album, ever.

    Interstella 5555 is one of the great films in that genre as well. Just hauntingly beautiful at times (especially during the Digital Love, Something About Us and Voyager tracks)
     
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  34. Nathaniel_Near

    Nathaniel_Near G.O.A.T.

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    Relax folks, ...
    Discovery is pure win.
     
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  35. thejackal

    thejackal Hall of Fame

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    #35
  36. Nathaniel_Near

    Nathaniel_Near G.O.A.T.

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    Relax folks, ...
    No, I hadn't heard this. Thanks for showing, this is a *swish* remix -- deliciously suave.
     
    #36
  37. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

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    But it does have significant weighing on whether a claim like "one of the best ever albums" stands up to much scrutiny. It's a truly outlandish claim to make given how sub-par so much of the album appears to be.
     
    #37
  38. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

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    An album, at least in the modern sense, is a collection of individual pieces of music as a showcase of the artist's repertoire at the time of making. A sound track by contrast is a one-stop journey reflective of the film it was made for - generally with little need to produce any particular standout single*.


    *Some sound-tracks (like for the movie '54' for example) are merely compilations of already released music.
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2013
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  39. MAXXply

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    Meh. A 55y.o woman at my tennis club was saying how much she loved "Get Lucky". I'm pretty sure she was nostalgic for disco. Nile Rodgers is the best part of it. I agree there has been a certain amount of Kool-Aid drunk by the album's biggest fans. And what's with the robo-helmet schtick? Will there be an "Unmasked" anthology down the track?
     
    #39
  40. Nathaniel_Near

    Nathaniel_Near G.O.A.T.

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    Relax folks, ...
    Plus 25 years of experience doesn't always mean a whole lot. 25 years of experience for one person might be the equivalent of 5 for another in terms of volume of listening and also the manner in which one listens to music might be different not just from a subjective sense but in the sense of recognising sonic detail.
     
    #40
  41. TennisLovaLova

    TennisLovaLova Hall of Fame

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    Disco sucked before and it still does in 2013
     
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  42. SempreSami

    SempreSami Hall of Fame

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    Prefer Discovery, but it's an excellent album.
     
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  43. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    The best part about Get Lucky is Nathan East to me. I like the live bass playing on this record. It is something that breathes life back into dance music, which has become all about when the next drop is coming.

    Its not one of the best records in a decade to me at all. I think people just forgot how well live players can interact with electronic programming in a dance music setting and start freaking out when they hear someone who can play.
     
    #43
  44. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

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    I added the red above to make it clarify what you said.

    Live bass has been used a lot in house music for decades - including right up to this day. Just not the more commercially slanted stuff which has made it onto American radio which, in general, has been about 10-15 years behind Europe etc in embracing electronic music (a little ironic considering the roots of modern house/techno are completely American).

    Too true. Nile Rodgers and Nathan East are both great, it's just amusing that people are somehow surprised it happens like it's something new when it's actually been a central theme of many dance artists since day dot - some of them major names too. New York's own Masters at Work for example have been using guys like George Benson, James Ingram etc forever.
     
    #44
  45. dParis

    dParis Hall of Fame

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    I had a similar thought as yours, Bobby, as I was reading through is thread. The descriptors above play like talking points for those who have gobbled up the hype.

    OP, your stated critical credentials make the premise of this thread more ridiculous, not less so.
     
    #45
  46. Nathaniel_Near

    Nathaniel_Near G.O.A.T.

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    Relax folks, ...
    That's neither here nor there, I'm afraid.
     
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  47. West Coast Ace

    West Coast Ace G.O.A.T.

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    +1. After all the hype this album doesn't do much for me. Their older work IMHO is better and more memorable.
     
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  48. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    Yep, I am a huge Fred Falke fan for example. I do get to play on some deep house now and then, but like you said, nothing commercial. The real commercial stuff is basically presets being created and then figured out and passed around by kids on the internet until the sound is overdone and on to the next one.

    You can't make presets for live playing, which is why this music sounds so fresh to the unwashed masses. Anyone who is into dance and has listened to this music for years will probably be a little let down by this record and will probably prefer older DP releases.
     
    #48
  49. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

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    RAM tops a list of the most overrated albums from 2013. http://flavorwire.com/428360/the-10-most-overrated-albums-of-2013/

    This one came and bubbled away pretty quickly after all huh!

     
    #49
  50. heninfan99

    heninfan99 Legend

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    The Residents had better outfits though...
     
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