Daft Punk’s Tron: Legacy has been one of the most anticipated and hyped electronic music releases of the year.
Die hard fans have been waiting since it was first announced that Daft Punk would be scoring Tron: Legacy. And the Disney hype machine has whipped up enough buzz for Tron 2 that most people have already had a preview of the film and soundtrack.
Does the Daft Punk Tron: Legacy soundtrack live up to the hype?
If you’re expecting a great cutting-edge soundtrack or a great Daft Punk album, the Tron: Legacy soundtrack doesn’t really deliver.
If, on the other hand, you thought that Daft Punk bit off more than they could chew taking on scoring a major motion picture soundtrack and following in Wendy Carlos’s footsteps – you may be pleasantly surprised.
The Tron: Legacy soundtrack is a agreeable collection of short tracks, most of which combine orchestra and synths to various degrees.
The soundtrack sounds huge – there’s no doubt that it will be effective as background to Tron’s visuals. The combination of brass, strings and deep electronic bass shakes the room.
Daft Punk’s music, though, is less satisfying. Most of the soundtrack conforms to dance music norms: compressed sound, rigid 4/4 meter and 16-beat sequences. This tends to emasculate the power of the orchestra, removing meter, dynamics and tempo changes as expressive options.
Daft Punk’s Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter also make surprisingly conservative use of the orchestrational possibilities of both the orchestra and electronics. For the most part, the strings play minor key ostinati, brass play “pads” and synths are used to add deep bass. It’s not unlike the way Philip Glass extended the orchestra with synths on soundtracks like Koyaanisqatsi, 30 years ago.
As a result, most of the soundtrack doesn’t sound especially “Daft Punk”.
Putting aside the hype, though, the Wendy Carlos legacy, and inflated expectations for Daft Punk – the Tron: Legacy soundtrack can be enjoyed for its own merits.
Daft Punk’s more electronic tracks on the soundtrack, like Derezzed, draw on the duo’s electronic dance music strengths. Several tracks, like Solar Sail, feature arrangements that skillfully blend orchestral and electronic elements.
And the score includes several primarily orchestral pieces, including the Overture, Adagio For Tron and Finale, that are neo-classical surprises. You may find yourself wondering if the music is still Daft Punk. The Overture, especially, takes advantage of the power of the orchestra, starting quietly with strings and horn and then building to a bombastic, brassy climax.
The soundtrack is also Journey-free.
All-in-all, there’s a lot to recommend Daft Punk’s Tron: Legacy soundtrack. There’s more to the duo than dance music and robot suits, and their score for Tron: Legacy has me wondering what they will do next.
The Tron: Legacy soundtrack is currently available at Amazon for $7.99.
If you’ve listened to the Tron: Legacy soundtrack, leave a comment and let us know what you think of it!