The evolution of Daft Punk is dubstep

I grew up with an unexplainable attraction to the beats and rhythms of Daft Punk. Some time in the fifth grade, I heard One More Time on Disney radio and was caught in the nodes of its infectious melody. The lyrics swirled in a hypnotic matter while going along this spicy music filled with lively character. There was a sense that the instruments and lyrics were always meant to be together in this infinite state of joy. A party contained in a singular track, it defined my generation. It's one hell of a song.

My explorations with Daft Punk continued with my discovery of Kazaa. It was the height of the p2p movement where tracks were fingertips away. I didn't know what iTunes was and I didn't care; I had all my music for free. I punch in the artist title and a spreadsheet of music tracks loaded on my screen. Music was downloaded and transferred to my computer in a mouse click.

When I discovered BitTorrent, all DSL hell broke loose. I proceeded to torrent one of those massive artist discographies. After a few days of leaving my computer on, praying that my mom wouldn't pull the plug, I had all of Daft Punk's music on my hard drive. Discovery, Alive 1997, the beats kept going. And it was good. Really good.

I have lost count how many times I played Discovery on repeat. The number of headphones I bought, used, and broke in the process of enjoying their music. I can recall the guitar riffs of Aerodynamic. The sweet synth lines of Digital Love and the infectious reptetiton of Superheroes. Even the soft and romantic Something About Us helped me through many failed relationships.

A few years had past before Daft Punk released their timely concert album Alive 2007. Needless to say, it did not disappoint. It couldn't, there was no way because it was Daft Punk. It was the ultimate mashup of Homework and Discovery with a punch of concert fever that made me feel as if I was at Coachella (and boy do I want go there one day). The epic remixing of Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger with Around the World was just the tip of the iceberg. I listened to that album religiously for a good three months.

Then, the Daft Punk pattern of "no new music" persisted again. I continued to circle my odd mix of strong vocal women, rappers, and underground intelligent dance music. It was definitely a strange year for me. Finding quality music wasn't difficult (hello Tycho and The Fray). But there was still nothing mirroring the unique flair of Daft Punk.

Enter Tron. With technology and music converged, Daft completely flipped the script on quality music. In fresh anticipation for their new tracks, I listened to their single Derezzed. Keeping true to their word, the song was a smash hit and I fell in love with Daft Punk again. The next two months, I kept the Tron: Legacy album on an infinite loop. Harps, violins, fresh synths, subtle but powerful bass lines, Daft Punk reinvented themselves in an inexplicable manner.

It's no surprise then that this is another dry spell. Daft Punk is probably busy in their studio hammering out what could be their magnum opus. The fan blogs are awash with rumors of new sets of tracks heading this way. But waiting more than a year draws out a strange impatience for me. I have to satiate this thirst for music. I've kept on a steady diet of love songs that tug at the heart strings. I keep listening to some fresh, experimental IDM in hopes for finding new favorites (Mix Mool, Shigeto, and Com Truise). I also always have the mainstream insanity on a queued up playlist. The music list has been steadily growing at a new, positive clip.

But oh! Wait a second. There is this new contender of music spreading like a virus. It's the virus everyone says you need to have even if its painful. It's dirty, raw, and multilayered. It takes everything you've heard and screws it up, chop-suey style. Most importantly, it feels exciting. You feel the rhythm enter within your body and take over your mind.

Meet dubstep. It lives and breathes by its scratchy throat feeling. It was so different and refreshing. But it played dirty mind games. There were nonsensical synth lines combined with poppy instruments and digital interfaces. I could have sworn I was hearing an optical cable being jammed in my ear.

Then there is the drop. Dubstep lives and breathe by the drop. Every song is characterized by the fact that you are in a high speed car chase and when you jump off the cliff, the music slows down. The rhythm tempers but you know what's next. Something is building up and about to explode. You hit the pavement so hard that your engine is making that chalkboard grinding noise. The paint is scratched, the body is dented. but your driving with a new found energy. The drop feels kind of like that.

Names like Skrillex, deadmau5, Feed Me, and Bassnectar would run a blank just a few years back. Sometimes I can't even draw a straight line between what techno, house, and dubstep is. But I know there is a new sound emerging from the airwaves. It captures the club feeling into a 6 minute diatrabe that is exponentially amplifyed. Going up to eleven isn't a euphemism, it is a requirement.

I'm beginning to like dubstep.

I've always been a treble type of person. The exceptional wub wub sound is the complete opposite of this thought process. Bass completely defines the dubstep experience. it is the melding of feeling and listening in a seamless space. They took advantage of subwoofers and defined a new genre of music. 

And some would say that dubstep is the bastardization of Daft Punk's original French House theme. But I propose an alternative thought process. Dubstep is an evolution of music. It is a new wave coming and no blockade is going to stop hoards of new friends appreciated its chalkboard-screeching rhythms. 

When the next Daft Punk album drops in the still-unknown time frame, I won't be surprised with some sprinkle of teeth-grinding entering their tracks. And there is nothing wrong with that. Daft Punk knows how to evolve their music to have their fresh feeling, even with new tracks and new styles. Tron: Legacy is a testament to their ability to transform their music while still retaining they replay function.

In the next few months, I'm going to give my Daft Punk tracks a fresh listen. I'll obsess over the details and run with the rhythms. And when the next album comes out, I'll be one of the first to listen to their album and appreciate the evolution. Even if it is dubstep. 

Ashraf Ali