Daft Punk blasted onto the dance music scene in their 90's with their seemingly futuristic sound with their album "Homework" and current standard hits including "One More Time," "Around the World," and "Technologic." Their robotic sound and image (dressing in robot outfits) are flashy and seemingly decades ahead of their time. For longtime dance music aficionados though, Daft Punk might be a 2.0 version of an act that essentially invented the dance music sound, literally and figuratively. Taking a listen to the seminal 80's German dance band Kraftwerk and checking out their music videos begs the question: Has Daft Punk lifted Kraftwerk?
One way to check the "lifting" is to simply listen. A piece of evidence to examine is the song "The Robots." The entire song is created by first generation synthesizers. Starting with the beat, it is relentless and never changes, very much like Daft Punk's new generation synth beats. Another way of examining the lifting claim is the layering of the non-beat synth layers. Both acts use very robotic sounds in their music with Kraftwerk laying down the template.
Further evidence is synthesizing the vocal track to sound as machine-like as possible, which is a staple of both acts. The vocal tracks of "We Are The Robots" and "Around the World" are chillingly similar in tone and voice modulation.
Lyrical content, or lack there of, exhibits another cause for questioning. Kraftwerk is known for longer, five to nine minute songs featuring wandering synth soundscapes. To augment these auditory travels, the act sprinkes in sparse lyrics like in the song "Autobahn." The title accounts for a majority of the lyrics with a few other words sprinkled in. Daft Punk takes a similar tact with words. One stark example is the song "Around the World" where the title includes all the words in the song repeated over and over, simply there to add another layer of non-musical hook.
Image in video is another way to answer the question "Has Daft Punk lifted Kraftwerk?" As an example, the video for "We Are The Robots" shows the members of Kraftwerk standing at their synths miming robot movements and even robot stance, stiffening their bodies and
even their mouths as they lip-synch the lyrics. Further evidence is to check out tour videos of both acts where standing behind synths and massive laser light shows make them near companion bands formed 20 years apart. Daft Punk took the concept a bit further by actually wearing robotic helmets.
The question explored here really has no correct answer. If Daft Punk would be confronted with the query of lifting Kraftwerk, they wouldn't answer because the two members of Daft Punk don't do interviews or talk as part of their characters. In contrast, Kraftwerk has been media savvy since the start, discussing their music and their latest innovations regularly. Two bands separated by time seem to be connected by synth , sound, and style. So has Daft Punk lifted Kraftwerk? A quick listen to the music and cursory view of videos can easily spur the debate on whether history is simply repeating itself musically.