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Goodbye, robots: Daft Punk breaks up after 28 years

Photo designed by Kyle St. John

This Monday, French electronic music duo Daft Punk released a video on their YouTube channel announcing their breakup, ending their 28 years of music production under that name.

The video, titled “Epilogue,” rose to the top of the site’s trending page after release, and shows an excerpt from the 2006 film “Electroma,” which the duo (Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo) co-directed.

In the excerpt, two characters walk together through a desert, dressed as the duo’s famous robot mask personas. The video ends with Bangalter’s character self-destructing, while Homem-Christo’s walks off into the horizon alone. The video then fades to reveal a title card reading “1993-2021.”

Later that day, the group’s publicist Kathryn Frazier confirmed the duo’s breakup but did not reveal any specific reason behind the decision.

Formed in 1993, Daft Punk released their debut album “Homework” in 1997 to mainstream success. The songs “Da Funk” and “Around the World” were both major commercial hits for the group, with their accompanying music videos garnering success on MTV.

Their next album phase saw the first public appearances of the group’s now-iconic robot costumes. The alter egos came from the pair’s desire to hide their physical appearance during interviews, as well as shyness from their audience.

“Discovery” was released in 2001 to even more mainstream success, with hits like “One More Time,” “Digital Love” and “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger.” An animated music film “Interstella 5555” was later released in 2003, with the album acting as the soundtrack about the movie’s fictional band, “The Crescendolls.”

2007 saw the release of “Human After All,” which was initially met by mixed critical reviews but still had standout tracks with “Robot Rock” and “Technologic.” Their subsequent tour resulted in the release of their live album, “Alive 2007.”

The group would go on to compose the score for the Disney movie “Tron: Legacy” in 2010. Both members made a cameo appearance in customized versions of their robot masks, made specifically to fit in the virtual world of the film.

Their fourth and final studio album, “Random Access Memories,” was released in 2013 to critical and commercial success, earning them three Grammys. The album featured collaborators such as Giorgio Moroder, Nile Rodgers and Pharrell Williams, the latter two featuring on “Get Lucky,” which earned the title of one of the best-selling digital singles of all time, as well as two more Grammys for the group.

In 2016, Daft Punk was featured on two of The Weeknd’s tracks, “Starboy” and “I Feel It Coming.” Both songs appeared on the Billboard Hot 100, with “Starboy” hitting number one. It was the first time Daft Punk had ever reached the top spot in the U.S. “I Feel It Coming” would eventually become the duo’s last single together.

The Weeknd, Mark Ronson and several other artists shared farewell messages and gratitude for the duo’s contributions to music across their 28-year career.

“Daft Punk left the game with a flawless legacy. I would say enviable but impossibly unattainable is more appropriate,” tweeted Ronson.

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