With nods to electronic soundtracks of the 70’s and 80’s, such as Wendy Carlos (composer of the original Tron soundtrack) and Vangelis (composer of the Blade Runner soundtrack), Daft Punk step up their game and deliver the soundtrack to Tron Legacy and it may be one of the best sci-fi movie scores since Star Wars.
I was surprised during my first listen to the album. Besides a few tracks very little reminds you of Daft Punk. I was expecting a deep pumping bass and TB-303 knob twiddling screeches to be more prevalent. Instead it starts with the very theatrical (and very unelectronic) Overture and from there features electronic music subtly playing along side an 85-piece orchestra such as the second track The Grid (which features Jeff Bridges cheesy introduction from the movie).
Many of the songs share a common musical theme. On The Son Of Flynn one theme is played by synthesizer while on the next track, Recognizer, the theme is played on strings. This really shows off Daft Punk’s skill at arrangement.
The three most Daft Punk-esque songs are Derezzed (the first single and is featured in many of the previews), End Of Line and Tron Legacy (End Titles). Derezzed has the hard driving bass with the squelching 303’s I mentioned before. We have heard this from Daft Punk before (mostly from their first album Homework) but whereas those songs were testing your patience at five to six minutes long, Derezzed demands a replay when it’s minute and forty-four seconds are over. End Of Line is the most 70’s/80’s sounding electronic song, it reminds me of Kraftwerk‘s Trans-Europe Express with it’s allusion to motion. Near the end the song adds bleeps and bloops that sound very much like they came from old 8-bit video games. Tron Legacy (End Titles) sounds like what you would expect Daft Punk to sound like when scoring a movie. An entire album of this would be annoying but at one track, and a powerful one at that, it works well.
I refuse to review the bonus tracks. First of all, the regular album is fantastic and reason enough to buy it. Secondly, for whatever reason (read: money), to get every “bonus” track you would have to buy the album a minimum of four times (Special Edition CD, iTunes, Amazon MP3 and Nokia Ovi) and I refuse to do that. Hey record companies, if you don’t want people pirating your music, don’t do this!
This is a great soundtrack, plain and simple. For people that have seen the movie, each song will immediately make you think of the scene where it was featured. For movie score aficionado this is a brilliant mixture of electronic and orchestral scoring. And for Daft Punk fans it is a sign of brilliant things to come from the French duo.