Beloved enigmatic French EDM duo Daft Punk call it a day in a new eight-minute video entitled “Epilogue.”
The surprise clip — featuring excerpts from their 2006 movie Electroma — dropped Monday morning (Feb. 22) and it opens with a long shot of the pair in custom Daft Punk racing suits and their iconic robot helmets as Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter slowly walk through a windy desert scape.
As Homem-Christo strides with purpose in the video, Bangalter hangs back and eventually stops, with the distance between them growing. After a final look backwards to his partner, Homem-Christo returns and looks Bangalter in the helmeted face as he strips off his black jacket and turns around to reveal a control panel in his back.
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With just the sound of the wind swirling around them, Homem-Christo opens the panel, flips a switch and sets off a beeping one-minute countdown that gets louder as Bangalter walks away and then braces for self-destruction.
Longtime publicist Kathryn Frazier confirmed that the Parisian group has broken up and that the video represents their statement on the end of their nearly three-decade collaboration; at press time no reason was given for the split.
The video ends with the image of one silver and one gold hand making the shape of a triangle over the years 1993-2021 as a setting sun blazes to the strains of their song “Touch” from what would be their final album, 2013’s Random Access Memories. Though they released only four full-length studio albums — 1997 debut Homework, 2001’s Discovery and 2005’s Human After All — the pair were hugely influential dance music superstars whose vibrant, uplifting music belied their cold, robot exteriors.
The Parisian producers scaled to the heights of dance music with a trademark sound that blended pop, funk, synthpop, hip-hop, house and techno with indie rock overtones, accompanied by eye-popping, futureshock videos directed by the likes of Spike Jonze, Roman Coppola and Michel Gondry that mixed animation and surreal imagery. Beginning in 1999 the press-shy pair adopted their mute robot costumes, which they wore religiously for the rest of their careers, rarely appearing in public out of the shiny helmets.
Among their most beloved hits are songs such as “Around the World” and “Da Funk,” as well as “One More Time,” “Robot Rock” and the No. 2 Grammy-winning 2013 smash “Get Lucky.” In addition to their colorful videos, DP also earned a reputation for visually stunning live performances, which had them spinning their body-moving hits from atop a giant electrified, light pulsing pyramid. The pair also recorded the soundtrack album to 2010’s Tron: Legacy and released the full-length animated sci-fi film Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem in 2003, followed by their directorial debut, 2006’s robots in search of humanity sci-fi film Daft Punk’s Electroma.
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The album that became their swan song, 2013’s Billboard 200 topper Random Access Memories, featured collaborations with Chic’s Nile Rodgers, electronic music pioneer Giorgio Moroder and Paul Williams, as well as The Strokes’ Julian Casablancas, Pharrell Williams, Panda Bear and Chilly Gonzales. At press time it was unknown if there was any unreleased DP tracks in the vault, so the final released music from the duo could be their 2016 collaboration with The Weeknd on his hit “Starboy” and “I Feel It Coming” from the Canadian singer’s Starboy album.
Watch the “Epilogue” video below.