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Disco 101: Daft Punk's Dad

by Chuck Eddy

Disco 101: Daft Punk's Dad

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One thing kids these days might be unaware of is that Daft Punk didn't really invent anything. In fact, they didn't even invent Daft Punk! At least a quarter of that credit should probably go to one Daniel Bangalter, aka Daniel Vangarde, the 1947-born Frenchman who 28 years later fathered Thomas Bangalter, who is either the daft or the punk half of Daft Punk.

Like his son, the elder Bangalter made electronic music for people to dance to. Except he did it mainly in the late '70s and early '80s, when electronic dance music was still called disco for real, and wasn't just pretending like Daft Punk is. The two French groups that half-of-Daft-Punk's dad most extensively wrote for and produced were the co-ed duo Ottawan and brother trio the Gibson Brothers, both fronted by singers from the France-colonized West Indian island Martinique. Both groups had a handful of pop hits in the U.K. and Europe, but the best either did in the States was when the Gibsons' impossibly ebullient "Cuba" stalled at No. 81 in 1979.

This mix starts with six singles each from those two groups, then dives into other Daniel Bangalter-associated ephemera: Two cuts from his bizarre early '70s quasi-Japanese psych-pop group the Yamasuki Singers; four versions (including the Yamasuki original) of a vowel-happy, quasi-African tune he wrote alternately called "Aieoaoa" and "A.I.E. (A'Mwana)" (Ottawan also do one called "A.I.E. Is My Song" -- confusing!); a track each by French yé-yé diva Sheila (later called Sheila B. Devotion and produced by Chic) and Guianese zoukers La Compagnie Créole, who Bangalter/Vangarde produced in the '70s and '80s, respectively (though it's hard to confirm whether he oversaw these particular cuts); and his 1973 arrangement of "Listening to Mozart" by Brit switched-on-classics studio conglom Apollo 100. Talk about your randomly accessed memories!

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