One More Time – Daft Punk (Analysis)

“One More Time” is a song by electronic music duo Daft Punk, first released as a single on 13 November 2000 and later included in the 2001 album Discovery.

History of French House

French house is a term for house music produced by many French artists, a popular strand of the late 1990s and 2000s European dance music scene and a form of Euro disco. Celebrated and successful purveyors of this music include Daft Punk, Air, M83 and Justice. Most tracks in this genre feature a four on the floor timing in the a tempo range of 110–130 beats per minute.

The defining characteristics of the sound are are filters and phaser modulation on samples from late 1970s and early 1980s American or European disco tracks. Early house music was generally dance-based music featuring repetitive 4/4 beats, rhythms mainly provided by drum machines, off-beat hi-hats, and synthesized melodies. While house displayed several characteristics similar to disco music, it was more electronic and minimalistic.

With the musical influences of funk and soul and the combined versatility and practical dance nature of house, the audiences of french house are both said to be a culmination of Disco and early house music. Daft Punk reached significant popularity in the late 1990s house movement in France and met with continued success in the years following, combining elements of house with synthpop.

French House is made up of a variety of different genres. one of the styles is heavily influenced by a genre commonly known in by the french as space disco. Space disco can be described as disco music with a futuristic mis-en-scene. This genre came to popularity in the 1970s and explored the ideas of outer space. Most of this aesthetic included futuristic robotic humanoids,laser illuminations and bright flashing lights to simulate being in a control centre of a space ship.

This science fiction theme is apparent in most Daft Punk tracks and is no exception in “One More Time”. For example the use of vocoded/phased vocals would suggest that there is a mechanical and almost robotic representation towards their music.The effect created by a phaser is often used to imply that the sound is synthetically generated, like turning a natural human voice into a computer or robot voice. The technique works because the frequency filtering produces sound commonly associated with mechanical sources, which only generate specific frequencies rather than a natural source.

Space disco can also be described by the virtual landscape it was trying to recreate. Since outer space was the main aesthetic they were going for, the use of large hall reverbs were mostly used for lead synths or even breakdown sections. The use of the large reverb is indicative to the vast and expansive nature of outer space since virtually, a long reverb with a long tail can be associated with a being in a large space. This is apparent in the song “One More Time” where the melodic nature is stripped back for almost 2 minutes of a breakdown where there is nothing but a single layer of synth with the vocals, both heavily processed with reverb. This section can also be indicative of the lonely/eerie nature of space since nothing can be found.

Another common use in french house is the extensive use of filter sweeps using cutoff via high or low pass. This is apparent in the second genre that heavily influences their sound which is euro disco. Euro disco is a variety of electronic music that implements more of a pop/new wave aesthetic and is commonly accompanied with bright synths. Since the use of synths was more common, the use of filter sweeps were more apparent. Since psychedelic was a genre that has heavily influenced early disco, the use of phasers and sweeps could be a synoptic and cultural reference to drug culture since cocaine was a heavily demanded drug during the prime of disco in the 70s. The use of spectral modulation could emulate the sensation of possibly being under the influence of these hard drugs.

There is often a strong emphasis on extended instrumental solos or jams, typically featuring a heavily distorted lead such as a guitar or synth as the main instrument. Once again this can be directly linked to the 2 minute instrumental break in the song.There’s also a considerable amount of resonance at the ends of the filters. This gives the sweeping sound when the cutoff frequencies are changing rather than just cutting out the frequencies as it passes.

The fashion in this scene was mainly themed similarly like glam rock with an abundant use of bright flamboyant colours  and bright visual styles. This has obviously influenced daft punk’s whole aesthetic of wearing futuristic helmets with bright leds. Daft Punk have said that they donned their robot masks to easily merge the characteristics of humans and machines. Sampling often brought new life into old recordings and with the age of affordable samplers and synths, live studio sessions were not viable for most of the emerging bedroom producers who had a fondness of the genre. Most of the warm sonic characteristics of the old eps could not be recreated at the time using software and so, sampling was a common practice amongst produce

“One More Time” contains a sample of “More Spell on You” by Eddie Johns. This section is mainly built from the transient brass shots and is beatmashed in varying timing from quarter beats to eight beats.

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Intro

One more time starts with the a high passed melodic hook which is was the sample previously stated above. At the end of every 8th bar the sample is beat-mashed to every quarter beat. A vocal hook of “one more time” is then introduced every 4 bars which features a heavily autotuned quality to it. It could also be a vocoded effect which is carried using a saw lead to create a robotic characteristic to it. A heavily compressed bass is introduced and is sidechained to the four on the floor kick.

The percussions feature the use of a shaker and hi-hats and is also high passed along with the rest of the section. there is also a very metallic white noise sound which could be the after effect of the use of bitcrushing upon the percussions.

Chorus

The main vocal line is introduced and is heavily modulated using a phaser. The vocal also features the use of a ping pong delay or tremolo so that it slowly pans from left to right.The Since space disco was a great influence on them the washing of the vocals references the overall 80s disco movement where most of the spectral characteristic is phaed in and out to create a very trippy experience. This section loops for another 16 bars before the breakdown

Breakdown

The breakdown features a slow attack sine wave pluck which is panned to left. Most of the spectral elements such as the low end bass and high end percussions are still present. The vocal hook is also present. However this section only lasts for 4 bars until the middle 8.

Middle 8

The middle 8 is a long 2 minute section of the song where most of the punchy rhythm and funk elements are stripped for a more synth-orchestral section. There is an organ which plays the root chords and provides the only melodic content for a whole minute. A shaker is introduced after 16 bars and provides the back bone of the section and is eventually high cut after 8 bars. The melodic hook sample is eventually high passed unto the final section of the song. The song continues for another 16 bars until the end and is mostly a re-run of the chorus.

Summary

French house is repetitive in nature often reusing the sample over and over again with various effects layered as to not verge into repetitiveness. However with varying moods such as the binary opposition between the up tempo funk vibes and synth washed orchestral middle 8 section gives listeners space to breathe and relax. At the end of the day most of this music is catered towards being played in a club and so there is enough variation in energy for it to be successful when played with a dancing crowd in mind.

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