It turns out the robot-helmeted musical duo were Human After All. Nearly 30 years after forming the electronica powerhouse Daft Punk, Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, the men beneath the helmets, have split.
The news, confirmed by the duo’s longtime publicist Kathryn Frazier to Pitchfork, was revealed through an eight-minute video titled “Epilogue,” ending on a placard of Bangalter and Homem-Christo’s robotic personas’ hands held together in a triangle with “1993-2021” written underneath.
The two formed Daft Punk in Paris in 1993, but really broke into worldwide nerd fandom with 2001’s Discovery, which is absolutely one of the greatest sci-fi epic music albums of all time.
It served as the full-length soundtrack to the utterly rad anime movie Interstella 5555: 5ecret of the 5olar 5tar 5ystem, which they made with Japan’s legendary Leiji Mastumoto, creator of anime classics like Space Battleship Yamato and Captain Harlock. Evoking classic anime aesthetics of the ‘70s and ‘80s, the silent film tracked the fictional interstellar music group the Crescendolls, as they’re kidnapped by a mysterious alien force — as their leader Stella psychically reaches out to a young space pilot to rescue them.
It wasn’t the first time Daft Punk would cross over with the sci-fi genre. Although not soundtracked by them, the duo made the haunting, melancholic Electroma in 2007 — a movie about a duo of masked robots attempting to come to terms with their identity and nature — segments of which were repurposed for the “Epilogue” video announcing their split. And of course, in 2010 Disney perfectly selected the duo to score Tron: Legacy, creating an intense electronica score that was easily the best thing about the movie (tied with Michael Sheen’s performance as Computer Ziggy Stardust).
The break-up is a bummer, but the duo gave us 28 years of incredible dance bangers, which is a hell of a (Tron) legacy. I’m going to listen to Discovery for the rest of the day in their robotic honour.