Daft Punk: Daft Plagiarists?

Photo by Leo Prieto
On the heels of the announcement that Daft Punk’s Alive 2007 is scheduled to drop in November of this year comes a few interesting revelations regarding their production methods and raises some questions about the “ethics” of production.

Kanye West’s new single “Stronger” features a sample from “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger,” slowed down and rearranged as suitable backing material, a fact that’s easily recognized by anyone who’s familar with DP’s work. But in a strange, meta-twist, it turns out that KW is sampling a sample, and even self-referentially referring to the sample-sampling in his own lyrics:

…Do[es] anybody make real shit anymore?
Bow in the presence of greatness
Cause right now thou has forsaken us
You should be honored by my lateness
That I would even show up to this fake shit
So go ahead, go nuts, go ape-shit
Especially on my best stand, on my Bape shit
Act like you can’t tell who made this…

And what’s the sample being twice-over sampled? The hook from “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger,” which was actually created by Edwin Birdsong. And that’s not the only instance of them appropriating a catchy hook and making it their own. Every Daft Punk track you can think of is from a funk or disco track from the 70s or 80s. The people at Palms Out Sounds have provided a thorough breakdown, but be aware, once you click that link your perception of Daft Punk will change.

As did mine, for the worse. After chatting with Peter from Create Digital Music about my feelings, he encouraged me to write about it for the online zine.

Sampling and remix culture is the future, right? Not if you ask a lot of music lovers at the moment. The guest for the CDM Random Rant of the Week is our friend Liz. It’s an issue I suspect has troubled some readers here, especially as music technology is equated to the sample/remix culture (especially if you believe Wired Magazine and we’re in the age of mash-ups.) Sure, tracks sampling other tracks is nothing new, but the legal battles over hip-hop aside, is there a backlash brewing? Do people want to hear something original, after all? And can Kanye, erm, speak truth to power with both the President of the United States and mysterious French electro duos? -PK

So have a read of my rant, and feel free to join in the following discussion:
Random Rant: Daft Punk: Daft Plagiarists?