Daft Punk made a brief cameo in the Aftershocks coda to S+A, as pioneers of the becoming-animation of pop in the 21st Century (alongside Gorillaz):
“Clint Eastwood” by Gorillaz – Damon Albarn and pals hiding behind cartoon alter-egos - and the anime style videos for Daft Punk’s “One More Time” and “Aerodynamic” refloat the Archies idea of the imaginary pop group. It’s a sideways recognition of the increasingly fantastical turn taken by pop video, with stars approaching the status of figments spun into existence by teams of technicians: make-up artists, hair stylists, lighting crews, video and audio postproduction. Singing itself has become hyper-real: vocal deficits compensated for, or strengths drastically boosted, by the chopping up and re-stitching of lines or even single words from different takes, with the composited performance further tinted and perfected using pitch-correction technology. The audio signature of 21st Century pop is set to become the superhuman glisten glazed across the radioscape by AutoTune and Melodyne. As similarly intensive processes of editing and computer-generated imagery weave their way into video, the borderline between a human star and an animated creation gets decidedly blurry.
You could call it digital glam, or digi-glam for short. It’s the logical extension of pop video’s nonrealistic and nonsequential traits. (A significant threshold was crossed in the late Eighties with the multiple costume changes and senselessly shifting backdrops in promos like Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” and Madonna’s “Express Yourself” and “Vogue.”). Just like sound in the ProTools era, moving images have become a moldable goo of binary code to be recombined in Frankenstein fashion. As the 21st Century unfurls, scenes in film and TV lose integrity as real-world spaces, with material composited to improve the compositional balance – why not drop a church in the background? Postproduction technicians known as graders or colorists tweak the visual palette dramatically, contrasting hues to make figures “pop” out of their surroundings. Film it flat and fix it in the mix – that’s the ethos now. The kind of Photoshop trickery long used in fashion photography becomes routine in video, with “motion retouching” applying a perfect sheen to singers with blemished complexions (often by “sampling” skin-tissue pixels from elsewhere), removing lipstick from teeth, or shaving down the nose of a very famous pop star who appears later in this epilogue.
Daft Punk sing about “Digital Love” in 2001. But by decade’s end, they’ve fallen out of it and are analogue-curmudgeons decrying the very techniques they’d exalted and excelled at. On 2013’s Random Access Memories, they implore “Give Life Back To Music.” Trop tard, mes amis: pop has entered the uncanny valley of no return.
Daft Punk also appeared in this recent piece I did for Tidal on masks, masquerade, disguise and greasepaint-thick make-up in pop history:
"Daft Punk started wearing their trademark robot helmets to both preserve their privacy and extend their sci-fi glam aesthetic. Thomas Bangalter once told me that the futuristic kitsch of the headgear was a way of “playing with anonymity and showmanship at the same time.” The artwork for Daft Punk’s debut album, Homework, features a Kiss poster, but the duo’s biggest influence is Brian De Palma’s 1974 rock musical Phantom of the Paradise, whose protagonist is a vengeful musician who hides his deformed features behind a silver mask. “Phantom embodied everything we liked when we were 13 — rock, glam, horror, movies,” Bangalter said. “It’s the film we’ve watched the most number of times, and it’s about a guy with a leather wardrobe and a mask.” Daft Punk also see their helmets as akin to the superhero’s cape: “We love the idea of the person who has the powers, but no one knows who he is.”
Phantom of the Paradise - essentially a glam rock movie - also makes a cameo in S+A:
"Movies about rock, rock-about-rock – there was a lot of it about in the first half of the Seventies. Brian De Palma’s 1974’s Phantom of the Paradise could be seen as a “glam movie,” what with its Jobriath-like star Beef and the Alice Cooper parody The Undeads. Combining rock satire and campy horror movie, Phantom of the Paradise is the tale of a Spector-like Svengali called Swan and his diabolical schemes. De Palma also lampoons the nostalgia craze along the way: Swan declares that “the future of rock’n’roll is its past” and one of his bands is the Sha Na Na-like revival troupe The Juicy Fruits."