Face paint, masks, and costumes, though quite commonplace in Rock and Metal, are a much rarer phenomena in Electronic music. Nonetheless, here are five very interesting Electronic musicians who wear masks and accompany their music with a unique and memorable look:
As one of the most prominent acts in the history of Electronic music, the chances of you not being familiar with Daft Punk are very slim. Be it their various hit singles like "Get Lucky" and "One More Time," or their production work on albums of artists such as Pharrell Williams and Kanye West, this French duo has stood the test of time, setting trends, influencing numerous big names in the industry and always being years into the future. Having released four studio albums as well as an entire OST for the film "Tron: Legacy," it would be impossible to list all their best pieces without focusing this article solely on them. Still, here are five great compositions from all four albums, newest to oldest: "Within," "Touch," "Human After All," "Digital Love," "High Fidelity."
As far as the duo's history goes, before Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter wore masks or even made Electronic music, they were members of a Rock band called "Darlin'." The name "Daft Punk" itself originated from a negative review that branded their early music as "a bunch of daft punk." And even though their first two albums, "Homework" and "Discovery," prompted strictly positive reception from fans and critics alike, the reviews for their third album, "Human After All," were mixed. Their fourth album, "Random Access Memories," left a lot of older fans unsatisfied; still, in the end, it ended up helping them expand the fan base even more; and though this is debatable, I do believe that the duo owes majority of the negative reception to its eclectic nature. It is undeniable that none of their albums sound alike and I also believe this to be a big part of Daft Punk's general appeal.
As for the big question of why the duo is masked, the answer is quite simple: this way, they have the ability to remain anonymous on the streets and enjoy the virtues of a down-to-earth life that so many celebrities long for. Their robotic imagery also goes perfectly with their music, which features heavy use of analog synthesizers, sequencers, and vocoders.
deadmau5 (pronounced "deadmouse")
Another big name on the list, deadmau5 is one of the most renowned musicians in the Progressive House sub-genre. Noting Daft Punk as one of his influences, Canadian producer Joel Thomas Zimmerman has seven studio albums that have influenced many young producers around the world. Here are five songs that demonstrate his skill and style very well: "I Remember," "There Might Be Coffee," "Ghosts N Stuff," "Animal Rights," "HR 8938 Cephei."
Apparently, Zimmerman's stage name came to be when one day he came across a dead mouse behind his computer. He then stylized the name due to Myspace's username character restrictions and ended up with an often mispronounced "deadmau5." He then created the logo, appropriately titled "mau5head," himself in a 3D modeling software. The idea of making it a mask and wearing it at shows belongs to his friend.
SBTRKT (pronounced "subtract")
Though not yet as well known as the previous two entries, UK-based producer Aaron Jerome has made quite a name for himself with his unique production style and some truly captivating live shows. Active since 2009, SBTRKT has two studio albums, featuring compositions of varying styles. To demonstrate this diversity, here are five great songs from both his albums: "Wildfire," "Temporary View, "New Dorp New York," "Higher," "Hold On."
The main idea behind the mask as well as the name "SBTRKT" (subtract) itself is taking the producer's humanity away from the project and letting the music speak for itself. The masks themselves go very well with the music that often sounds very tribal.
The Bloody Beetroots
The Bloody Beetroots appears as four different formations live, but in the center of it all is an Italian producer known as Sir Bob Cornelius Rifo. Born in 1977, the same year as Punk Rock, his influences are evident. Offering by far the heaviest sounding music on the list, here are some examples of his unique MO: "Warp 1.9," "Out of Sight," "Spank," "Church of Noise," "Rocksteady."
The mask itself was adapted to serve as an icon for the musical revolution Bob Rifo is conducting. It is as dark and mysterious as the music and the culture it represents.
The last entry on the list also happens to be the newest. Formed in 2011 by Swedish producers Alexander Björklund and Sebastian Furrer, CAZZETTE has only one studio album. Still, it features some very crisp and elaborate club-oriented productions: "Sleepless," "Blind Heart," "Weapon," "Genius," "I Surrender."
The duo claims that the whole project was inspired by Daft Punk and the main reason behind the masks in not anonymity, but the creation of an icon around which they hope to build a following.