Roulé

Finally scored Thomas Bangalter’s Trax On Da Rocks Vol. 2 for a sweet, low price, and inside was this flyer for Roulé Records. I’m missing the Roy Davis Jr. record, and not included on this essential checklist is Together, a collaboration between Bangalter and Davis Jr., and Outrage, an three track 12″, and the last from Bangalter on his French label. If you can find them in the states, pick up every single one of these righteous house records. You won’t be sorry.

Columbia Records Sleeve

Columbia Records InsertIn lieu of today’s biggest release in the history of Columbia Records (which is an argument to be had, I know), I present a simple, yet elegantly designed sleeve from 196?

Using repetition, and a simple (not to mention inexpensive) two-color layout, the designers at Columbia Records produced an elegant piece of 1960’s design in the often hidden form of a protective record sleeve.

As you can plainly see, the Columbia Records logo is subtly patterned on either side of the centered, Columbia Records name. There is no question that a bold white line amongst a sea of orange logos was designed specifically to demand attention from the eye, and only after you’ve read the text do you realize the tiny logo creating the hemispheric patterns.

If you haven’t already, go out and pick up a copy of Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories. When you leaf through the futuristic (2013) album, think back to the mountainous Columbia Records catalog, and how simple, yet tasteful, their design (and musical) history was.

1996: Spinal Scratch

Spinal ScratchMade famous by the labors of his day job, as exactly ½ of Daft Punk, Thomas Bangalter’s solo work finds the artist taking a minimalist approach to the Funk-rich Electronic (House music) sound. In no way does that mean Spinal Scratch, and its B-Side, Spinal Beats, are “less than.” These two tracks hit hard, and when combined, offer over 11 minutes of sweaty dance-friendly beats.

Released a year before Daft Punk’s eponymous debut, Homework, Spinal Scratch finds Mr. Bangalter cutting his teeth on a pair of monster beats that almost scream the letters, S-E-X in a rhythmic and soothing loop, but you know, in that classy French way. It’s almost as though because this is French music, there is a certain amount of leniency attached to it. Not that this, or anything Bangalter or Daft Punk do require any sort of leniency, but French House music, with its repetitive yet weighted bass can become something of a nuisance if done improperly. Good thing for all involved that Mr. Bangalter’s work is pure gold. The fact that he is French is just the icing on the delicious French pastry.

LabelSpinal Scratch, or Roulé 302, is the second solo offering by Bangalter, following 1995’s Trax on Da Rocks. (I purchased Trax on Da Rocks from eBay a few years back, but it was lost in transit. I was refunded my money, but have been looking for a copy ever since.) Both DJ 12” records were released on Bangalter’s own Roulé Records. Roulé is French for, “rolled,” so you get the target demographic he was going for with this label.

You can find Spinal Scratch on the Irréversible soundtrack, which is mainly comprised of the back catalogue of Bangalter’s solo work. It’s nice to have everything together, but there is a certain amount of intimacy owning these tracks individually. If you haven’t already, seek out Bangalter’s solo work. Your sex-crazed dance partner will thank you.

Daft Punk’s Translucence

Tron SleeveI remember being ecstatic upon hearing the news that Daft Punk was to do the soundtrack to Tron: Legacy (2010). I, as well as the rest of Western Civilization felt this was the perfect amalgamation of sophisticated electro-dance-upside-your-head-man and cutting edge motion picture special effects. But what seemed like a Ben & Jerry marriage turned out to be one resembling Ben & Jennifer (Lopez… remember Bennifer?).

Needless to say I was distraught with disappointment towards the lack of hard hitting, head crushing, swift musical justice that Daft Punk is known for (and quiet honestly the type of music that is expected of them). Don’t get me wrong and think I disliked the soundtrack. On the contrary. I thoroughly enjoyed it, but felt (to put it in baseball terms) it echoed a bunt single instead of the home run I was expecting.

I remember Los Angeles in late 2010 into early 2011 being absolutely, and undeniably Tron stupid. Billboards, stories of Comic-Con viral previews, murmurs in back alleys of the soundtrack being Daft Punk’s greatest album, billboards, news of Disney opening a Tron store, a cartoon series, everybody and their brother wearing Flynn’s Arcade t-shirts, and oh, did I mention billboards? It was arguably impossible to ignore.

Jump a few months ahead to April 16, the Christmas morning for record collectors, Record Store Day. Three versions of Daft Punk’s Translucence were released on 10” picture disc with blue, yellow and red rings. Featured here is the blue copy, which I think most resembles the actual Tron identity disc. Containing three tracks from the soundtrack, Translucence was a must for Daft Punk/Tron fans not only because it perfectly resembled an identity disc, but also because it featured a fourth track that wasn’t offered on the soundtrack; side 2’s Castor.

The blue guys aren’t cheap on discogs, ranging from $116 to $249, but the yellow and red guys can be obtained for around $35.

I will add, as an aside, that I feel The Chemical Brothers’ effort with the Hanna Soundtrack was far superior to the Tron: Legacy Soundtrack. Having stated that, I’d recommend them both.

Tron Disc