Is anyone more influential to the modern electronic music scene than Daft Punk? OK, Kraftwerk always has a place at the top of the mantle, but ask any producer 35 years or younger what albums changed their life, and Daft Punk is about 99 percent likely to be near the top of their list.
The French duo’s 1997 debut album Homework gave birth to the bedroom producer. Its seminal work, 2001’s Discovery, is an absolute generational classic. Without 2005’s Human After All, there would be no bloghouse revolution, no Skrillex, no crunchy guitar-led electro rowdiness — and without the Alive 2007 tour pyramid? Deadmau5‘ Cube and Skrillex’ Mothership may never have existed.
By the time Daft Punk released Random Access Memories in 2013, iconic co-writers Nile Rodgers and Pharrell were honored to be a part of the process. “The robots” have become one of the most beloved acts in modern music history, electronic act or otherwise, and it goes without saying that the generation the duo helped spawn has paid the love back in countless bootleg remixes. Today, we honor those who honor “the robots” with our picks for 10 best remixes of Daft Punk songs to date.
Daft Punk – “Human After All” (“Guy-Man After All” Justice Remix)
Human After All is conceptually genius as Daft Punk explores its most humanistic themes through the filter of its most robotic noises. This album and its title track represent the duo’s most mechanical work, and yet, love and human emotion are central to the performance. In this 2006 remix, Justice puts the funk back into the robot rock, re-humanizing the project, bridging the gap between Discovery‘s disco vibe, and bringing the concept full circle.
Daft Punk – “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” (Dillon Francis Remix)
Dillon Francis takes the “Faster” in this title to heart with a sped-up tempo, then doubles down on the “Harder” with a glitchy, half-time drop. This is one to wind your body to, a bit of an ass-clapper, if you will. It’s hard to call any version “Better” than this original, but Francis certainly succeeded in making a must-drop remix of a real modern classic.
As soon as “Starboy” starts, you can hear Daft Punk’s influence on The Weeknd’s sound. Similarly, as soon as this remix begins, Kygo’s tropical touch feels warm and tingly. He brings a fresh ’80s rhythm to the familiar hit, pushing his own sound to new frontiers. It’s a real chill groove throughout. Play this one at your next Sunday hangout.
Right out the gate, K?d brings his signature sparkly mood to what is already one of Daft Punk’s shiniest singles. Panda Bear featuers prominently on the original, but he’s pretty vacant on this one. Instead, K?d gathers his euphoric synths around the robotic hook. He uses dynamics to the fullest with a mid-section slowdown and a glitchy climax.
Daft Punk – “Derezzed” (The Glitch Mob Remix)
Daft Punk was half the selling point for 2010 Disney flick Tron: Legacy. The robots recorded the movie’s entire score and soundtrack, and you can still hear its influence in similar works by other electronic artists to make the crossover. “Derezzed” is one of the catchiest grooves on the album, and The Glitch Mob’s half-time take proved itself a real cult classic.
Pharrell – “Gust of Wind” Feat. Daft Punk (Autograf Remix)
Daft Punk brought serious strings and disco guitar to the table for this Pharrell original. Autograf is one trio that knows the value of live instrumentation, yet its down-tempo remix plays on electronic atmospheres to bring new dimension to the tune. It’s real moody and atmospheric, but kit drum sounds brings us back to the song’s original soul.
Daft Punk – “Derezzed” (Robotaki Remix)
Another take on the Tron soundtrack’s biggest single. Robotaki takes a gritty stab at its hook with a trudging melody that makes us think of Justice’s “Phantom Pt. II.” It’s one of the bossiest cuts you’re likely to hear from the Toronto producer.
Daft Punk – “Rinzler” ( 1 7 8 8 – L / R E M I X )
Another cut from the Tron: Legacy soundtrack, “Rinzler” is one of the more cinematic movements. Essentially, it’s a two-minute build centered around anxious strings and big, echoing drum hits. With this remix, 1788-L hones in on the brooding mood and injects a heart-racing drum’n’bass backbone. It’s explosive with a harsh, dubstep climax. Funfact: the Japanese vocal translates to “You have to wash your face and brush your teeth,” according to one YouTube commenter.
Daft Punk – “Robot Rock” (Hotblood Remix)
“Robot Rock” is, in its own right, a masterclass in how looping the right sample can beget crunchy, electronic brilliance. Hotblood adds a lot to this remix; most notably the bleeting, shuffle-worthy bass and some festival house granduer, but it’s still that warbly hook that gets our temperature rising.
Daft Punk – “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” (Far Out Remix)
One more time for an absolute classic, this time from another mysterious duo named Far Out. Its remix adds “bigger” to the titular lineup, amping the energy with huge electric guitar and main stage-sized builds and drops. There are even some drum’n’bass-esque drums at the end. Released in summer of 2018, it’s a bold modern take on a 17-year-old staple.
Daft Punk – “Something About Us” (Cherokee Remix)
We’ve always been fond of ending dance nights with this Discovery love song, so what better way to end our list than with a “Something About Us” remix? LA producer Cherokee pays homage to its groovy heart while giving it a respectful beat boost. Now, the mood-setting favorite is the perfect way to start your night – or keep it going.