Tron Legacy by Daft Punk – Magic to my ears

TronSoundtrack.com 34.98 Deluxe Edition

Amazon.com 11.88 Disc

iTunes 9.99 Digital

At first when I heard that Daft Punk was going to be creating the music for the new Tron film… I felt let down a little. Actually I felt let down a lot.

The original film Tron was one of those movies, as a kid, that I was constantly re-watching and really wishing that I had a light cycle. When it was announced that they were creating a sequel that was finally more than a thought, I was excited for it, but I couldn’t understand the choice of composers.

Don’t think that I dislike Daft Punk, because I actually like them quite a bit. It’s just that their brand of music up until now seemed too… happy.

To me the world that Tron inhabits is very dark, very expansive, and very, very sinister (I mean… I guess one could call it a cyberscape). It didn’t seem to me that Daft Punk would be appropriate for this world (unless they were taking the film in a completely different direction from the first, but that wasn’t what I was seeing in the trailers). In my mind I couldn’t figure out how the film could possibly be good with two hours of “Around the World” underscoring the solar sailers, disk fights, and the other crazy shit, you thought I was going to forget the light cycles, didn’t you?

And then Daft released some samples from the score. It was not what I was expecting to say the least. It was as if the French DJ duo had taken a bunch of downers but remained like hyper-bots throwing their electronic instruments into minor keys and reading up on how to orchestrate for strings.

A friend of mine, Herr Vogler, commented that it sounded as if “someone had their Dark Knighty o’s” referring to how similar the sound of Daft was to that of the string writing from Hans Zimmer’s (and James Newton Howard’s) Dark Knight score. I had to agree that the sound was indeed very similar. Another similarity can be heard by some of the brass stings they used, which sounds very close to another Zimmer score released this year… Inception.

When I heard the full score, I was able to hear the brilliant marriage between Daft Punk’s electronic synthesis and acoustic orchestral instruments.

The cue “Overture” starts off the score. Taking a little while to build up with a dark pad, and introducing the theme slowly in the horn section, it really feels expansive. At about a minute and a half in the synths can really be heard joining the huge sweeping orchestra, putting a nice exclamation point on the opener.

In a lot of the cues, the synths are quite obvious, but blend supremely well with the orchestra. In “The Son of Flynn” Daft begins with an arpeggiated synth figure that reminds me of something Muse would do before breaking out into some rock riffs.

One of my favorite cues is “Outlands”. It has a very quick sounding figure in the strings that is expanded into more string sections throughout the piece. Eventually the brass joins in and helps the cue build to its climactic ending. Very cool string writing!

“Adagio for Tron” may be the closest cue to something resembling complete orchestral knowhow, Even with the synth figures entwined in the terrific writing, I still find it very organic. And how can you not love a piece that also includes organ? Ending with a cello solo, this piece is also one of my favorites!

Even though I had been disappointed about the potential to have an electronic Daft Punk score for Tron, I almost couldn’t believe my own delight at a couple of the floor ready house electronic cues included in the score, namely “End of Line” and their early single “Derezzed.” The only difference between these cues and classic Daft Punk is the fact that they were written for a movie. So awesome. They get my heart pumping and my feet tapping. Makes me very excited to which images they match up with in the film!

For as much as I dreaded this score, I would call this not just a pleasant surprise, but a most welcome guest in my collection, and a definite addition to my favorite scores of 2010. I would also be remiss if I didn’t write that this score is inspiring some truly grand ideas in my little human brain… but more on that at a future date!

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5 responses to “Tron Legacy by Daft Punk – Magic to my ears

  1. I’m totally treating this as another Daft Punk album… in the same vein as Air’s “Virgin Suicides.” Also want to see the film in true IMAX form.

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    • You should make the trek to Portland. I’ll take you to a movie and pancakes!

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      • I want some of those pancakes RIGHT NOW!!!

        I just got the physical album in the mail yesterday AFTER I find out a deluxe version was made! Oh well… maybe I’ll still track that one down. I’m not the hardcore Daft Punk fan I used to be (circa 1998-2001), but this just became one of my favorite releases of 2010.

        Also, the packaging is awesomely black and blue metallic… and the disc itself is black like a Playstation disc!

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  2. very very inception zimmery at times.. I am digging it.

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  3. Pingback: My favorite scores of 2010 (Top 5) | Commentary from a musical brain

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