Written by – Giuseppe Origo
Translation by – Julia Perry
RAM isn’t an easy album. RAM is a socio-musical phenomenon that makes it one of the 5 most awaited albums in the last 10 years, an excellent marketing move, a researched one, an awaited one that has been waited on for way too long. RAM took some of the best producers in dance music history, united them in a studio with two crazy-ass Parisians at an attempt to write a piece of electro music history, and maybe, emerging successfully.
1. Give It Life Back to the Music. In the opening of the album there’s more France than can be found in the smack-dab middle of Paris, an older electro-classic elegance with a mix of elegant funk and the classic vocoder that is their main production style. Rhythmic springs and expansions, but not in excess, making it a great piece to listen to bringing you back to the 70s: an incubator of electro that was, is, and will be. There’s a strong Nile Rodgers feel to it, true, but after Get Lucky, what can you expect?
2. The Game of Love. Another classic, very inventive, but the “step forward” (if you can ever have a superior evolution from a DaftPunkian masterpiece) is heard, and is marked, by a use of bass and main line synth. The traces in the background may seem tacky though easily appropriate, although only after the first 30 seconds of the song.
3. Giorgio By Moroder. And there you go straightforward into experimentation, in my opinion, an interesting experiment to say the least: Our Giovanni Giorgio Moroder, italic king of dance, speaks of his personal musical experience, his pre-Daft process before the “sound of the future.” Under the soothing voice of Moroder, the two robots weave an interesting base, a mash-up of classical dance and slow rising rhythm that grows slowly to later be strengthened towards the delta of minute 1:51, the one that, in my opinion, makes up the most interesting part of the entire album: a syncopated synth, from the saturated sound of the enriched bass here and there and the funk of the guitar alongside with digital arcs, an interesting electro canon in which the principal lines are harmonized and exulted to the maximum of their potential. Pure auditory ambrosia.
4. Within. An electro ballad? That’s what it seems like. A sampled piano under a melancholic robotic voice “There are so many things that I don’t understand”. A difficult piece, easily fitting to an album like this one, but more easily identifiable in the course of the group, maybe even a gamble.
5. Instant Crush. Also known as, “even Daft Punk know how to play dirty”. A piece easily categorized as pop, enjoyable and chill, where the speakers seem to wrap your ears in silk… The Julian Casablancas touch can be clearly heard, which is definitely not a bad thing…
6. Lose Yourself to Dance. Instead of a Daft Punk featuring Pharrell Williams piece, it seems more like a Pharrell Williams featuring Daft Punk song, indeed… a funky heaviness, too many rattles and claps in rhythm. The middle part is worth the whole piece.
7. Touch. With Paul Williams, this piece is pure musical research. An interesting piece and certainly a more complex one than it may seem after hearing it the first time around. An 8-minute journey of not only a song, but of internal musical research, of love or to hate: in my case, definitely love.
8. Get Lucky. No getting around it: this track is a masterpiece. Daft Punk don’t overpower Pharrell, and Pharrell doesn’t overpower the duo, and the right stylistic balance gives us a Funky-dance gem of rare elegance that, personally, I wouldn’t have expected to hear from anyone today, not even by Daft. A breath of fresh old-school air, and without a doubt the best ex-NERD has ever been involved in. It’s definitely not “One More Time”, but the elements to become its worthy companion are all there.
9. Beyond. A tacky symphony apart from the simple initial guitar loop mounted on a cymbal line, easy and chill as well as brilliant, as suitably reinforced by the right bass sound, it’s a peaceful trip through the 80s. Well Done.
10. Motherboard. Too much? Maybe. Probably…
11. Fragments of Time. Another legend joins the French duo, this time from the world of House music, indeed, the best House music, and it’s obvious. The piece with Todd Edwardsezzo is calm but, as I’ve said before, decontextualizes the robots a tad.
12. Doin It Right. Here it is, here they are. A majestic piece featuring Panda Bear, a splendid harmonization, the epiphany piece of the entire album. It’s true, RAM is a weird album, it’s definitely not what I expected… but this may be due to my personal shortsightedness: I hadn’t considered an eventual stylistic factor, evolutionary in fact, like in Daft Punk’s project, it seemed to me as if they had already reached their ultimate artistic apex, but I guess I was wrong.
On “Doin It Right” they reached their apex, but then again, their entire album is pretty ‘up there’.
13. Contract. Oh hell: the closing. An excellent and well-defined full-bodied sound, a massive wall with a little Justice-type sound mixed with a Tron Legacy feel, the new ring on the evolutionary scale. It encompasses everything, and certainly even more! A single not only created to be danced to but also composed to touch emotional electro chords, a tear, and maybe even to pull out a “thank you”.
RAM is a complex album, first off, because it was carefully researched and planned.
I love it, even though not all of it in its entirety, but after all in every love story there will always be something that pisses you off, otherwise, it just wouldn’t be as exciting.