“I almost had this adverse reaction, like an overdose”: Daft Punk man Thomas Bangalter releases his 6-hour opera soundtrack

Thomas Bangalter
(Image credit: CEDRIC HERVET)

The previously enigmatic Thomas Bangalter has been a busy boy of late.

The ex-Daft Punk man releases his soundtrack to the dance performance Chiroptera in August. There are two versions available, one of which is an extended box set, ‘Chiroptera Matiere Premiere’, that comprises some five hours and fifty minutes of music.

The soundtrack, written by Bangalter, together with choreographer Damien Jallet and artist Atelier JR for a one-off performance that featured 153 dancers, was premiered in the forecourt of the Paris Opera House last November. It was quite some spectacle as the bat-like dancers inhabited scaffolding that rose over 30 metres into the air. However, the actual performance contained just 12 minutes of Bangalter’s full six-hour magnum opus.

In addition to this, Bangalter’s also been active in the world of art, producing Aletheia 19, a sound installation of 19 monophonic microgrooves cut on vinyl. It’s part of Atelier JR’s Dans La Lumiere installation at Galerie Perrotin, which presents a series of works inspired by Chiroptera this week until Saturday.

Chiroptera is set to be his third soundtrack release in 18 months. He released Daaaaaali, the soundtrack to a documentary on Salvador Dali, back in February, and last year saw his first post-Daft Punk project, Mythologies, which accompanied a ballet of the same name.

Those hoping for the filtered disco, house and '80s-influenced electro with which Bangalter made his name had better leave those expectations at the door. Whilst Chiroptera is certainly electronic, it hardly has the same commercial sheen of Daft Punk. The robots are no more. Indeed, Bangalter even allows himself to be photographed these days, receding hairline, beard and all.

In an interview with Pitchfork last year he explained the ideas behind this fresh approach “I love the idea of using technology to create an emotional connection,” he said. “But I like to dominate the machines rather than have machines dominate me.”

“I almost had this adverse reaction, like an overdose. I felt that I needed to take a radical approach and remove myself from my relationship with machines in this world.”

The two albums come out August 30th, with pre-orders available via Bandcamp now. If you’re after the full version, you’d better be quick. And have big pockets. The limited edition vinyl box set is priced at €416.67 and is only available at Atelier JR’s website or Galerie Perrotin in Paris. And there are only 200 for sale.

Will Simpson
News and features writer

Will Simpson is a freelance music expert whose work has appeared in Classic Rock, Classic Pop, Guitarist and Total Guitar magazine. He is the author of 'Freedom Through Football: Inside Britain's Most Intrepid Sports Club' and his second book 'An American Cricket Odyssey' is due out in 2025