ALBUM: HUMAN AFTER ALL
AUDIENCE: 18-24+ (by now 15-34)
DIRECTOR: DAFT PUNK (3rd self-directed vid)
By 2005 Daft Punk were a major act, with massive worldwide singles and albums behind them and the backing of one of the world's biggest record labels, EMI (through their subsidiary label Virgin), to boot. This shows in the video: it may lack shot variety in large part, but the budget is there for all to see with the central robot figure an impressive hybrid of the Terminator and Chucky from the Child's Play franchise. The distinct horror overtones are something we might more easily associate with industrial music, which tends to display a strand of technophobia, and also points to a band willing to sacrifice daytime screenings to target their core, club-going 18-24/18-34 audience. It would be hard to see this getting airtime pre-watershed.
The layers of intertextuality don't stop with what appear to be straightforward horror/sci-fi film signifiers though: the track gained wide exposure through being sampled in a Busta Rhymes track (with Missy Elliott on vocals); the track was used for both an iPod ad and a Motorola phone ad, featured in top-rated teen drama The OC (which has a wide global following), in 2009 was featured in two separate car ads. As the track's Wiki further reports:
It is a playable track on the iOS games Tap Tap Revenge and Tap Tap Dance, and was sampled for the video game DJ Hero. In an episode of the TV show America's Best Dance Crew, crew Kaba Modern performed to a master mix of this song on February 7, 2008. "Technologic" was also featured in the game Dance Central 2.What we also see is another Daft Punk trait: anonymising the duo in the act. The doll itself could act as a stand-in for the animations they did in the past, but we also get two futuristic guitar-playing characters, dressed like security men or police with their full-face dark helmets. Their movement is notably minimal and stiff.
Another really key feature is the link up between the vid and the stage set: the mysterious, enigmatic pyramids formed a centrepiece of the tour that was already ongoing when this video was released. As we've seen, since 2005 the change in the music business from a product-sales industry to a live performance + merchandise + archive (long tail) sales industry has been pronounced, and this was an early indicator of a band that saw that change coming - as an act advertising iPods, a key driver of that drive, should!
The length of takes is quite remarkable, and perhaps an attempt to stand out from the crowd: its certainly counter-intuitive to have such a slow-paced video. Arguably the sheer splendour of their mise-en-scene, together with the impressive SFX, is doing the hard work for them, but it still seems odd and a little unsatisfying. Its not the only time we've seen this: the iconic Da Funk video featured many such long takes too.