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Paris nightspots boycott Fête de la Musique

France's annual live music bonanza will be quieter than normal in Paris this year with 50 venues planning to boycott the event as part of a protest against a crackdown on late night revelry by the capital's noise police.

Paris nightspots boycott Fête de la Musique

For over 30 years, the summer solstice has brought together musicians in France in celebration of Fête de la Musique. They’ve played long into the night on the country’s streets and in its bars and parks, but now a tough clampdown on noise is threatening the success of tomorrow’s event, with dozens of venues in Paris planning a boycott.

Bar and club owners in popular areas including Oberkampf will remain shut tomorrow night in protest against what they call “abusive behaviour by the Parisian police” over noise level restrictions imposed throughout the year.

The boycott comes after Clément Léon R, the so-called ‘mayor of the night’, launched an appeal in early June for bars and clubs to “make no noise, no concerts and no DJ sets for Fête de la Musique…in protest against the abusive behaviour of the Paris police prefecture, the lack of interest from the Parisian council in the night, and the complaints by residents associations.”

About thirty bars in the nightspot area of Parmentier in the 11th district, including on Rue Saint-Maur, Rue Jean-Pierre Oberkampf and Rue Timbaud, will remain closed tomorrow night.

Hammoumi Selim, the president of the Village Timbaud, an association set up three years ago for the area's bars and clubs, said members have worked hard to try and combat noise over the past three years, but the police keep piling on the pressure.

“We have sound sensors, we’ve hired bouncers and set up a hotline for residents to call, but still the pressure continues to rise. The area is now in decline,” he was quoted on My TFI News as saying.

Meanwhile, venues in the 17th, 18th and 19th districts will also stay closed to give their support towards what they describe on posters placed on windows as “political anticonvivialité in Paris the other 364 days of the year”.

Fête de la Musique was set up by the French Ministry of Culture in 1982 and takes places on June 21 each year.
 

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MUSIC

8 of French duo Daft Punk’s most memorable moments

One of the era's defining dancefloor acts hung up their helmets on Monday, as French electronic music stars Daft Punk announced their retirement in a typically enigmatic fashion with a video showing one of them exploding in a desert.

8 of French duo Daft Punk's most memorable moments
Photo: AFP

From Da Funk in 1995 to Get Lucky in 2013, Daft Punk became the torch-bearers for French house music across the globe, winning six Grammy awards and pioneering the monumental sound-and-light shows that came to characterise the electronic dance movement (EDM) of recent years.

They did so while almost never revealing their faces — the ubiquitous helmets became another much-copied trope of EDM stars, but also afforded Thomas Bangalter, 46, and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, 47, a freedom from the fame that quickly encircled them.

“We have daily lives that are a lot more normal than the lives of artists who have the same level of fame as us, but who might be attached to being physically recognised,” Bangalter said in a rare authorised documentary by the BBC in 2015.

Here are some of the highlights of their career – although for our money nothing will beat the French army band’s performance of a Daft Punk medley at the Bastille Day celebrations in 2017, in front of president Emmanuel Macron and a plainly bemused Donald Trump.

1. “Daft punky thrash”

Bangalter and Homem-Christo met at school in Paris before an inauspicious start in music with the rock band Darlin’, which also featured a future member of the French indie band Phoenix.

One review in the British music press dismissed the band as “daft punky thrash” — which struck a chord with them.

Reemerging as an electronic outfit, they met with instant success.

This interview from 1995 is one of the few images of their faces:

2. Their signature look in “Around the World”

Early singles “Da Funk” and “Around the World” became club fixtures, and led to massive sales for their debut album “Homework” in 1997.

It was in the video for “Around the World” that they first donned the helmets that would become their signature look. It mirrored the tight control they exercised over every part of their career, which included ownership of their master recordings.

3. “One More Time”

They followed up with the even more successful “Discovery” in 2001, which spawned the hits “One More Time” and “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger”.

There were some distinctively left-field choices in the years that followed, including producing the 2003 film “Interstella 5555” by Japanese anime master Leiji Matsumoto, which featured music from “Discovery”.

4. Human After All

While their next album in 2005, a more sombre “Human After All”, received mixed reviews, these were quickly forgotten amid the euphoria of their live shows over the next two years.

This included a headline appearance at US festival Coachella in 2006, performed inside a giant LED pyramid. EDM fans still speak about it with an almost religious reverence.

5. Tron soundtrack

In 2010, they released a soundtrack to the Disney reboot of Tron, which picked up a Grammy nomination.

6. “Random Access Memories”

But no one predicted the massive success of their last album, 2013’s “Random Access Memories”, for which they gave up their usual makeshift home rig for a full commercial studio– and used entirely live instruments.

The resulting work dominated album-of-the-year lists and helped lift their total worldwide sales to 12 million. It won four Grammies the following year including record of the year for “Get Lucky”, the millions-selling lead single featuring Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers.

Their appearance at the Grammy Awards show was their last public appearance for three years.

7. “I Feel It Coming”

They showed up one more time for the Grammy ceremony in 2017, alongside The Weeknd, after collaborating on the Canadian artist’s most recent album.

Despite the Twittersphere erupting in excitement last month amid rumours they would rejoin The Weeknd for the Super Bowl half-time show, that did not in the end materialise. 

8. “Epilogue”

The video titled “Epilogue” announcing their split used footage from their cult 2006 film “Electroma” in which one of the robots sets the auto-destruct of the other.

A cutaway then reads “1993-2021” with two robot hands making a circle around a sunset.

Their publicist, Kathryn Frazier, confirmed the news to AFP by email, without giving a reason for the split.

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