Daft Punk were the most influential pop musicians of the 21st century

Daft Punk were the most influential pop musicians of the 21st century

By resurrecting disco, soft rock and 80s R&B, and bringing spectacle to the world of dance music, the French duo changed the course of pop music again and again

It’s hard to think of an act who had a greater impact on the way 21st-century pop music sounds than Daft Punk. The style Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo minted on their 1997 debut album Homework – house music heavy on the filter effect, which involved the bass or treble on the track gradually fading in and out, mimicking a DJ playing with the equalisation on a mixer; drums treated with sidechain compression, so that the beats appeared to punch through the sound, causing everything else on the track to momentarily recede – is now part of pop’s lingua franca.

In fact, no sooner had Homework come out than other artists started to copy it. Within a couple of years, Madonna had hooked up with another French dance producer, Mirwais, employed to add a distinctly Daft Punk-ish sheen to her 2000 album Music, and the charts were playing host to a succession of soundalike house tracks – 2 People by Jean Jacques Smoothie, who turned out to be a bloke from Gloucester called Steve; Phats and Small’s ubiquitous Turn Around; and No 1 singles, Modjo’s Lady and Eric Prydz’s Call on Me among them.

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