Miami Celebrates Daft Punk's Discovery, a Dance Music Masterpiece
Photo Courtesy of Classic Album Sundays
It’s impossible to discuss disco as a cultural movement without bringing up “Disco Demolition Night," an ill-fated and ill-conceived promotion designed to stimulate faltering White Sox ticket sales.
The event promised 98-cent tickets to any fan who brought a disco record to Comiskey Park in Chicago. Said records would, naturally, be demolished. Following a controlled explosion of disco records and some overenthusiastic fans (read: thousands of white people storming the field, lighting things on fire and chanting, “Disco sucks!”), the event ended in a state of semichaos.
The subject of countless retrospectives and think pieces, that fateful Chicago night represented a low for both disco and dance culture. In the undiscerning public eye, “Disco Demolition Night” was something of a climax for the then-new and exciting craze, an unfitting end for a sound that had given so much to so many.
As we now know, disco never really went away. In Chicago, the very city in which “Disco Demolition Night” took place, the genre underwent a creative renaissance and makeover, producing an offspring now popularly referred to as house music. What’s more, the right people seemed to be paying attention, with the likes of Arthur Russell, Francois Kevorkian, and Larry Levan going on to apply the lessons and musical ethos of disco to new and indelible soundtracks for shuffling one’s feet.
Among disco’s many disciples, Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, two Frenchmen born in the mid-'70s, stand out in the crowd. Although removed from disco’s heyday by both space and time, the duo would go on to release one of the most powerful vindications of the genre, producing an album that simultaneously glorified the past while providing a roadmap for the future. I speak, of course, of Daft Punk’s Discovery, which celebrates its 15th anniversary this year.
Classic Album Sundays, the six-years strong international listening party that dedicates each month to extolling a single venerated album, has deemed August as the appropriate month to commemorate the occasion. Courtesy of Deja Vu Audio and Sweat Records, Miami will be able to celebrate (oh yeah, alright) Discovery this Sunday, August 21, at Sweat Records.
“Honestly, we have way more RSVPs than we can handle on Facebook,” says Sweat Records owner and cofounder Lauren “Lolo” Reskin. “Obviously, those numbers don’t always translate in real life, but we are encouraging people in our posting to, like — hey, reserve your spot, get your ticket, because we can only fit so many people in the store."
An avowed Daft Punk fan, Reskin has nothing but fond memories of and praise for Discovery, which was released during her stint at the shuttered Virgin Megastore in South Miami.
“Honestly, the thing that came through to me about when the album came out was that it just had this perfect, scintillating disco polish that perfectly… captured some of the amazing things about the original disco sound,” Reskin says. “They were incredibly faithful, but the main thing Daft Punk is incredible at is taking these older sounds or these samples that they meticulously dig for and then completely reinterpreting them into something new and very fresh. So, I remember the first time hearing 'Aerodynamic' was just… you could just tell that they were firing on all cylinders.”
In the mind of Reskin, the function of Discovery as a unified whole has helped consolidate its reputation as a classic. Discovery is not just “One More Time” – which, in all honesty, would have been enough to make the album a noteworthy release – and a half-decent collection of singles. The album is a joyous, hourlong voyage through the potential and possibility of electronic music.
“As it keeps going, there’s even ballads on it – which is amazing – and atmospheric kind of stuff, and you know,” Reskin says, pausing to take a breath. “There’s just so much on this album, and it’s sort of why we’ve been describing it as an electro-disco odyssey, because it is one of those albums that kind of feels like a journey. By the time you get to “Face to Face” and “Too Long,” it feels like you’re deep into a party.”
Because nothing screams “party” more than dancing, free beer, and pizza, Sweat Records will be offering all of those things in addition to Deja Vu’s high-end audio equipment this Sunday at its Little Haiti store.