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The futuristic and mysterious dance masters Daft Punk appear to be the perfect group to compose the soundtrack to Tron: Legacy. The original film is fondly remembered by many despite its failure at the box office. Its musical score was composed by legendary composer Wendy Carlos, responsible for synthesizer classics such as Switched-On Bach and the soundtracks to A Clockwork Orange and The Shining. With Tron: Legacy Daft Punk have updated Carlos' original musical vision by delivering a sophisticated integration of acoustic and electronic instrumentation.
The opening Overture is a majestic orchestral affair that builds to a finale of crashing cymbals and thunderous timpani before fading gradually into silence. The Grid features Jeff Bridges setting the narrative scene in characteristically rich, solemn tones. The music pleasingly matches that quality with saturnine orchestration and a muscular rhythm.
For the first 11 tracks Tron: Legacy is every inch the film soundtrack, musical episodes painting dark and sombre soundscapes. Then the stately-paced End of Line delivers a catchy synth-riff that repeatedly punches like a silicon fist in a latex glove. Derezzed ups the ante in rousing fashion before Solar Sailer glides gracefully in on sighing strings and gently arpeggiating synths. These tracks form the apex of the album, and the music that follows restates and consolidates themes.
The sonic might of the 100-member symphony orchestra assembled by Daft Punk is wielded to powerful effect. The penultimate track Tron Legacy (End Titles) thrillingly expounds the main theme with a tidal wave of a string section accompanied by tweaked synths. Finale recalls the majesty of Philip Glass' main theme for the film Koyaanisqatsi. It's a shame that the film's audience will most likely miss this music, having left the theatre during the credits, as it's a lovely final composition. Although not musically revolutionary, Tron: Legacy suggests the adrenaline rush of a black panther roaming nearby in the darkness, heard but not yet seen.
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The other track I like the most is the second to last track, which is more like electronica or trance, I like the upbeat nature of it and it can get the heart racing a little more than usual listening to it. I am a big fan of the original feature and the earlier film which inspired it or is a true precursor, possibly depending on your point of view (everyone's a film critic). I mention that as I do think that this has influenced my opinion of the soundtrack, I probably would not have bought it if I where not predisposed to liking it having listened to it in the feature film after all. I do like it though and recommend it.
I think the blend of electronic and symphonic styles fits perfectly with the drama, scale and setting of a movie like Tron.
I've added this to my list of music to test audio systems. It is breath-taking on the Void Acoustics set-up we have at work!
The one thing i love about these tunes they are great to drive to, but please don't put your foot down.
When you think about it Daft Punk were an obvious choice for this soundtrack, not in a lazy 'oh yeah, they do electronic sounding music' kind of way but in the way their music has such texture and feels simultaneously rooted in the past but bang up to date - perfect for an update of such a classic film . Of course the original Tron is rooted way back in 1982 and Daft Punk's retro vibes do tip their hat to that very different era whilst delivering something completely modern at the same time - not an easy task but it's done with a very sure hand here.
The pallete Daft Punk have drawn from is wonderfully varied and most tracks have a beautifully realised electronic motif interwoven with more traditional orchestral arrangement to stunning effect.
Listening to the soundtrack in isolation I find my mind filled with imagery from the film - no bad thing as both the music and visuals from the film are things of complete beauty. If a sountrack can ever be said to be 'good' based on how well it fits with the visuals then this soundtrack is surely one of the best. I find it rare these days to be as conscious of the music in films, to me this soundtrack was an equal to what I was seeing onscreen but the combined effect of the amazing visuals and sound add up to something far more than the sum of their parts.
I've seen in other reviews that the repetitiveness of the music has put some people off a little. I can't deny there is repetition here but that's what Daft Punk do... Around the World was just the same vamp over and over to almost hypnotic but stunning effect (and with that video it's just even better...), Aerodynamic with it's guitar arpeggio's...Robot Rock.... the list goes on but I have to say I like how the guys have come up with a hook and really explore it musically.
I've already heard various pieces of the soundtrack used in adverts and I can understand why - it's simply amazing music.
For the price their asking it's almost being given away so don't be shy! 10/10
No longer confined by instrumentation, the soundtrack as a genre can, in my mind, be more clearly defined as music that evokes feeling. Many modern soundtracks evoke disgust in me. I don't think anyone cares or wants to remember that Nickelback soundtracked a Spiderman movie. Would anyone have minded if modern movies don't contain a carelessly shoehorned in rock or bad rap song? Nothing dates faster than the date itself.
The Golden Age of the Movie Soundtrack started, in earnest, with the names Bernard Hermann. Jerry Goldsmith. John Williams. Their work has become both unextractable from the films, and separate, eternal pieces of music. Who can listen to "Also Sprach Zarathustra" without thinking of the rotating space station? Who hasn't at some point, pulled off some personal coup and thought about the rising, rousing Indiana Jones theme as they walked down the street after? Maybe it's just me.
Add another name to the list : Daft Punk. Taking a cue from the groundbreaking work of Clint Mansell - in a former life, vocalist for Pop Will Eat Itself - "Tron : Legacy" is easily Daft Punk best work so far, and one of the finest contemporary soundtracks of the past decade. The soundtrack may have been rearranged for home listening (does anyone remember the appalling 46 minute official soundtrack to "Return of The Jedi" that was designated the `concert' arrangement? Nowhere near as obvious as that).
Some tracks - "Adagio For TRON", for example - are strongly reminiscent in places of Daft Punk's influences : the shining light of Philip Glass arpeggios appear again and again. At other points, the influence of Walter/Wendy Carlos score work for Kubrick can be heard in long, measured tones and . Elsewhere - such as the stellar "End Of Line", the rhythm marches on whilst synths create a vocabulary of roars and bleeps. Throw into that "Derezzed", a short piece that would be a stormer played live is also the most obviously Daft Punk number of the piece, and the cumulinative effect is that of a sonic claustrophobia. With "Fall", a starkly orchestral piece of ever shortening and rising motifs, following immediately afterwards, creating a sense of oppression.
The soundtrack is arranged largely to follow the film, but also with the home listening experience in mind, with ebbs and flows, narrative structures, dense moments and quiet, reflective elements. By "Disc Wars" - track 17 of 22 - the piece of starting to gear up again for a finale. The 100 strong orchestra whips up a storm of several conflicting, simultaneous themes matchoing electronics and orchestra with a grace not often seen.
However, the soundtrack has one, crucial weakness. Being 58 minutes and 22 songs long, it's missing at least 21 minutes of music. But fear not, if you buy the release five times over, including a Deluxe 2CD edition, and downloads from Amazon, iTunes, and A Major Phone Manufacturers Store, you can own every piece of officially released material from the score. It's this kind of abusive, wilful limitation and obfusication of the market that leaves a bitter taste in the listener's mouth.
As a soundtrack experience, "Tron : Legacy" works well with the film, and at home. As an album is stands up well in its own right. As a Daft Punk album, it's also easily the best thing they've done yet.