Experience Daft Punk’s Humanity in the AFEELA Prototype
The AFEELA Prototype — a Sony Honda Mobility’s first EV prototype unveiled at CES 2023 — delivers the thrill of 360 Reality Audio into mobility space for a joint event with Daft Punk’s “Random Access Memories 10th-anniversary” album. This mobility makes immersive entertainment a truly moving experience. Engineered with the help of cultural mavens and content wizards, the AFEELA Prototype delivers unmatched audio designed to whisk away even the most demanding audiophiles. We celebrated Daft Punk’s “Random Access Memories10th-anniversary” album with a listening event in the AFEELA Prototype 360 Reality Audio space.
In the hallowed halls of electronic music, few albums carry as much weight as Daft Punk’s 2013 release, “Random Access Memories.” The album marked a shift for the French duo from dance-floor anthems created digitally to a lush, expansive analog sound palette, star-studded with names like Nile Rodgers, Pharrell Williams, Giorgio Moroder, Todd Edwards, and Paul Williams.
A decade later, they’ve re-released the album as a special 10th Anniversary edition. On May 17, 2023, we listened to “Random Access Memories 10th Anniversary Edition” on the AFEELA Prototype’s 360 Reality Audio at Sony Innovation Studios in Sony Pictures studio lot, Culver City, California, U.S.A. The AFEELA Prototype that integrates a 360 Reality Audio sound system offered the immersive listening experience for the anniversary album remastered for 360 Spatial Sound.
Comments from a Sony Music Entertainment representative
“The AFEELA Prototype’s advanced immersive sound system was just the right environment to fully appreciate the album. The collaboration between Sony Honda Mobility and Sony Music Entertainment allowed the AFEELA Prototype and Daft Punk to resonate. By joining together with them, we were able to collectively highlight amazing music creativity as well as forward-looking software, hardware, and audio technologies and demonstrate the powerful listening experience of 360 Reality Audio in its prototype.”
SVP, Commercial Partnerships
CMG | Legacy | Sony Music Entertainment
Bonus tracks and the meaning of “analog” in the production process
“Random Access Memories” transcended genres and generations, topping charts worldwide and winning five Grammys — including Best Album of the Year and Best Engineering Album. From the unrelenting groove of “Get Lucky” — and its entrancing guitar riff weaving with Pharrell’s smooth vocals — to the melancholic introspection of “Touch,” the album’s thirteen tracks offer a medley of emotions that pay tribute to the past and project us into the future of electronic music.
Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter wanted to bring a human element to what they once did with samplers and machines. In its original form, “Random Access Memories” was the duo coordinating analog instruments, choirs, and orchestras to perfection.
The supplementary tracks offer a rare insight into the enigmatic pair’s artistic journey, featuring unfinished and fragmentary works. They present an opportunity to travel back and partake in their creative endeavor.
Influences on Pop Culture and Technological Innovations
Ten years ago, the French duo ditched digital voodoo for analog instruments, hand-designed modular synthesizers, vocoders, reel-to-reel tape, and even a full orchestra for their experimental sounds. The engineering crew used a process to move analog tape data into digital editing programs.
“Random Access Memories” was named to draw a parallel between the brain and computer RAM (random-access memory), highlighting the randomness of how memory is stored.
Getting closer to the artist: 360 Reality Audio
As technology continues to dominate our world, audio systems have become more than a peripheral feature in modern cars. Now, they are central to the overall driving experience, turning the vehicle into a mobility entertainment space. Leading the pack is the AFEELA Prototype — a Sony Honda Mobility’s first EV prototype boasting 360 Reality Audio and the stage for the First Listen Event.
The hyper-immersive experience of 360 Reality Audio uses Sony’s 360 object-based 360 Spatial Sound Mapping to create a listener-specific spherical sound field where every music component seems to originate from its own space. The AFEELA Prototype’s uniqueness lies in its ability to optimize acoustics, taking into account even the body size of the listener, enveloping them in an immersive sonic experience. In every facet, the AFEELA Prototype is being developed to enhance the human connection to entertainment.
Harmonizing Humanity with Technology
Daft Punk, the French duo Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, was one of electronic music’s most influential acts, known for its distinctive fusion of house, funk, techno, and disco. The duo has consistently redrawn electronic music’s boundaries since its formation in 1993. Characterized by iconic robot personas and a penchant for privacy, Daft Punk has produced groundbreaking albums, including the multi-platinum “Discovery” and Grammy-winning “Random Access Memories.”
Ten years ago, Daft Punk swapped out the synth and drum machines that had defined their earlier work for warm, analog instruments to craft a grandiose, meticulous, and unapologetically retro listening experience. The new tracks on “Random Access Memories 10th Anniversary Edition” — much like the AFEELA Prototype— represent a masterful blend of technology with human craftsmanship. This fascinating fusion of technological wizardry and human connection harnesses the power of science and engineering without overshadowing or replacing the human element.
When experiencing “Random Access Memories 10th Anniversary Edition” on the AFEELA Prototype’s 360 Reality Audio, one can’t help but appreciate the pedigree and influences of Daft Punk’s music. From bonus tracks that include demos and trial-and-error research to the original album’s flawless tracklist, this album showcases the sophistication of bridging innovation with creativity and the complexity of the human experience.