Daft Punk – TRON: Legacy Original Soundtrack | Album Review

I don’t know how many people are aware that I am a big fan of Daft Punk, Tron and good movie soundtracks, so on paper, this is a hootenanny by my standards. Wendy Carlos, who was a pioneer in electronic music, scored the original Tron soundtrack. She influenced the likes of Stevie Wonder with her Switched On Bach album (which she recorded as Walter Carlos, before the gender reassignment surgery). No doubt she also influenced our French modern day electronic music pioneers Daft Punk.

With Daft Punk’s Tron: Legacy OST, what we see is the duo take the basic elements of the original soundtrack, marrying electronic with orchestral instruments, and provide a modern day version to go hand in hand with the stunning visuals in the film.

As you listen to opening third of the soundtrack, you feel like you should be doing everything in slow motion. ‘Overture’ and ‘The Grid’ are everything you would expect from a soundtrack of such grand proportions, the latter featuring the gritty voice of Jeff Bridges.

What I love about this soundtrack is that Daft Punk don’t lose any of their signature sound. They still provide us with the insanely clean and big production they are infamous for. They seem to bend and shape sounds to their will and there is certainly no lack of filters or arps, we just see hear them backed by huge brass and string arrangements. ‘The Arena’ and ‘Rinzler’ bring the 80’s sound home with what sounds like Phil Collins‘ drum stems from ‘In The Air Tonight.’

A constant recurring theme used throughout the soundtrack is the use of an effect similar to bit crushing, which essentially makes normal sounds sound like a digital disaster has occurred. Nowhere is this used more to great effect than on ‘End Of Line’ and ‘The Game Has Changed,’ both wonderfully epic tracks, the former being so unbelievably ’80s I felt like I was back in primary school.

Daft Punk shift dynamics in this soundtrack with such ease, it’s as if they were seasoned composers for films of this scale. ‘Outlands,’ ‘Adagio for TRON,’ ‘Rectifier,’ ‘C.LU’ and ’Flynn Lives’ are perfect examples of this. ‘Adagio For TRON’ changes themes in 4 minutes and ends with a very strong string motif.

‘Derezzed’ is just the epitome of Daft Punk’s work, with its pumping drums and glitch sample hold style chopping of an arpeggiated synth line, managing to retain a groove that everyone can appreciate, no matter your musical inclination. ‘TRON Legacy (End Titles)’ actually sound like they could be the end credits of a computer game you have just completed, such is their authenticity and the atmosphere they create.

What DP have done so very well over the course of this soundtrack is managed to keep a theme running for the duration of it by incorporating the same sounds time and time again, yet not boring the listener with similar arrangements. Tracks with programmed retro machine drum hits bring us into the 21st century, whereas the larger than life scoring of orchestral instruments keep the soundtrack tradition alive.

This soundtrack contains the hallmarks of any Hollywood blockbuster, huge string and brass arrangements that rise, fall and suspend us in all the right places. What makes it special is that Daft Punk manage to retain their artistry and sound whilst they execute what is required of them as Hollywood composers.

The mark of any soundtrack in my eyes is that it is there for the duration to act as a perfect bed for the film to lie on, ever changing and reflecting the mood of the visuals. The mark of an outstanding soundtrack is that you go away from the film talking about it or listening to it. It was so good I find myself sitting here writing about it without any provocation from the Editor. And I shall listen to it over and over. Or maybe just ‘One More Time’.

Daft Punk’s TRON: Legacy soundtrack is out now.

SoulCulture TV Bonus: TRON: Legacy – London Premiere