Daft Punk co-founder Thomas Bangalter removed his helmet for the first time to reveal his solo album, Mythologies, on Tuesday. The album, a 90-minute orchestral work, will be released on April 7 via Erato/Warner Classics. French choreographer Angelin Preljocaj commissioned the work for a ballet of the same name directed by Romain Dumas.
Mythologies is a "substantial lyrical work" that shows Bangalter "reinventing his approach to composition," according to the press release. The score "shows scant regard for conventional stylistic boundaries" and highlights the composer's love for Baroque music and American minimalism. There is no trace of electronic music, but it instead features "the large-scale traditional force of a symphony and, as such, it embraces the history of orchestral ballet music." The announcement included a portrait of Bangalter by Stephane Manel.
Bangalter has already worked on several projects outside of his collaboration with Daft Punk co-founder Guy-Manuel de Homen-Christo, notes Pitchfork. He produced the soundtrack for Irreversible (2002) and contributed to the Climax (2018) soundtrack. He released a traditional solo album, Outrage, in 2003, and worked with DJ Falcon as the duo Together.
Homen-Christo and Bangalter famously wore elaborate robot helmets publicly as Daft Punk, never revealing their true faces even on the red carpet at the Grammys. They also wore their helmets when they had a cameo in Tron: Legacy, for which they wrote the score. Daft Punk released their fourth and final album, Random Access Memories, in 2013 and announced their split in 2021. However, they reunited for the 25th anniversary of their debut album, Homework, last year. They won seven Grammys, including Album of the Year for Random Access Memories and Record of the Year for "Get Lucky."
In a recent interview with Billboard, Bangalter's father, French composer Daniel Vangarde, looked back on helping Daft Punk get their start. Varigarde, whose real last name is Bangalter, also advised Air and Phoenix, who credited him with helping them navigate the music business.
"I think all artists should have this freedom," Vangarde told Billboard in November 2022. "I helped Thomas, Guy-Man and their friends as much as I could to allow them to release without barriers. They were only 20 years old and the industry could have squeezed them – a normal contract generates interference between your work and the time it's released. I made an introduction to my English lawyer, who is still [Daft Punk's] lawyer today, and advised them not to let the author's rights society in France authorize their music for film or publicity. My input was to help create a good environment that allowed them to produce freely.