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Album: Random Access MemoriesReleased: 2013
This eight minute-plus track is the most complex piece on Random Access Memories
, being composed of over 250 elements. It features vocals by [composer of film music, including The Muppets' "Rainbow Connection
"] Paul Williams
. "This piece is the crux of the album," said Daft Punk to French publication Le Nouvel Observateur
. "It is the starting point of the entire disk that holds the meeting with Paul Williams. A sound engineer we know introduced us to Paul Williams, who visited us in the studio. From this meeting was born something very cinematic, very narrative. 'Touch' clearly defines the psychedelic aspect of Random Access Memories
Daft Punk's Thomas Bangalter explained the song's meaning to NME: "It's in the middle of the record at the point where you're furthest from either shore," he said. "It's the idea of retro-futurism, of going back 50 or 80 years or going forward. It's this kind of portal to try and express something."
This switches from a love song to disco to a ballad sung by a robot voice and back again. "'Touch' was the first track we started working on and almost the last to finish because it was the most complex," Bangalter told NME. "We recorded 250 tracks to make that one song.
"It's an interesting metaphor for the concept of the album," he continued. "The similarities between the hard drive and the brain. It's about the random way that memories are 'downloaded' into your train of thought. The most important records in music, whether it's Led Zeppelin or Pink Floyd, or The White Album or Sgt Pepper or Quadrophenia or Tommy, are the ones that take you on a journey for miles and miles."
Daft Punk love Paul Williams best for his role as an evil record producer in the 1974 cult film Phantom of the Paradise
. It was the helmet worn by the movie's hero, which inspired the French duo to wear their trademark robot masks.
When Random Access Memories
won the Grammy Award for Album Of The Year, Daft Punk had Williams give the acceptance speech, where he conveyed how moved they all were by the mass marriage earlier in the show when 33 couples were wed during the Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' performance of "Same Love
For inspiration for this song, Bangalter gave Williams a book of stories about people coming back from the dead and recalling memories of their past lives. "As somebody who has been pronounced dead and came back, I could connect to this idea in the song," Williams tells Pitchfork Media.
"It's like the core of the record," says Daft Punk's Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo of the song, "and the memories of the other tracks are revolving around it."