Daft Punk
Tron: Legacy


3.0
good

Review

by Keelan H. EMERITUS
December 7th, 2010 | 30 replies


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Around the World... with Jeff Bridges

Inevitable conundrum arisen of two worlds collided: the kinetic of techno and the visual of film scoring. The problem inherent in both is in terms of listenership, that is, the value of listening outside of proposed context. The club of techno; the silver screen of film. Daft Punk are the explorers of the field and Tron: Legacy OST is their platform. The collision is not entirely unheard of, take for example electronic acts such as Amon Tobin or Underworld, both of whom have leant their expertise to the big (or even little) screen. These acts, however, already possessed a cinematic quality to their soundscapes and atmospheres that leant naturally to film–Daft Punk do not. Such is the interest in the employ of the robots as the great purveyors of sound and mood for the sequel to the 1980's cult film Tron. Will the marriage of two, seemingly disparate (or, perhaps not so) genres unite in glory, or split asunder?

Ultimately the answer has to be the always ambiguous, and thus frustrating: to some degree, on either side. The question itself concerns two individual questions, the first being ‘is it quality?’, the second being ‘what does the splicing create?’. They both concern quality, one implicitly and the other explicitly, and both questions are the only real ones needed to address the album entire. Essentially, these two questions map out more concentrated ones. Does this sound like a Daft Punk record? Does this sound like a quality Daft Punk record? Does this work as a quality film score? To repose back to the latter, we should first examine what this marriage does.

The initial release of two tracks, “Derezzed” and “TRON Legacy (End Titles)”, stoked increasing interest amongst the nerd and Daft Punk fan communities alike. With good reason, both tracks seem to be the fullest realization of a sound that could excite the average music fan beyond what the typical film score could. Why Daft Punk are so well respected in the electronic and general listening community has always been, above the excellent beats and samples, their ability to find space and breathing room in their robotic compositions. Do not mistake this for a cinematic quality, though, and what these two previously released tracks offer is that cinematic sweep and grandiosity above the programmed synths. For example, the epic strings attached to the second half of “TRON Legacy” lifts it to a vast scope. If only they would carry this idiom across the entirety of this twenty-two track set.

The robots aren’t able to, and for all intents and purposes Tron: Legacy is a film score through and through. Ironically, the increased popularity in film scores out of context (ie. as individual entities) seems to coincide with the rise of compositions that rely heavily upon a visual aid. Whereas the golden era of Hollywood brought classically trained composers such as William Walton and Samuel Barber, today’s typical action flick (no matter how nerdy Tron is, it is indeed an action flick) mires itself in Zimmerisms; grandiose chord progressions, crescendoes galore, and epic string and horn arrangements. In the context of the film it works great, I dare you not to get a little bit excited with the score at the end of The Dark Night. The problem with Tron: Legacy is that it is exactly this type of score, and a very well done attempt I might add. “Outlands” propels towards its hairy, horn led climax; and “Adagio for TRON” is lamenting and mournful enough with its strings and rather lovely progression. Yes, the score works as a score and surely these moments meet touching love scenes and tension soaked moments where colourful lights cut other bike riders in half.

But where’s the excitement of Daft Punk’s touch in this? Outside of those two aforementioned tracks, they appear more often than not as a low pulse behind propulsive string movements, or warm synthesizer tones that accentuate thunderous timpani. “The Game Has Changed” does offer some glitchy, drum n’ bass stuff to all the forlorn and seriousness of the affair. Indeed it’s all rather serious business in here, from the echoing bleeps “Nocturne” to the very awesome voice of Jeff Bridges opening things after “Overture” (which, coincidentally, is totally a unnecessary opener). But, again, where are Daft Punk in it all? They’re here in flashes–sometimes brilliant flashes–as with perhaps the most fulfilling piece “Disc Wars”, with its arpeggio synth line and soaring crescendo. There just is not nearly enough in Tron: Legacy to make it stand out.

Which is really unfortunate because the good moments in here are very good. It may also be harsh to criticize Tron: Legacy for not being what Daft Punk fans want it to be, but this ultimately leads to the greatest problem with the score. It sounds like a multitude of other scores, that is, outside of some far flung moments, anybody could have composed this soundtrack. That isn’t to say that the score in any aspect fails at what it’s trying to do. With the visual aid it will surely be a very well rounded and acceptable score. But this is being released prior to the film, which means it is meant to be heard outside of the context of the silver screen. In that case, there is nothing here to warrant a more studied interest beyond the casual. It sounds good and it sounds like a 21st century action film score. No risk. Therefore there is ultimately no great gain.



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user ratings (360)
Chart.
3.5
great
other reviews of this album
Adam Knott EMERITUS (4)
Hey, wait, this isn't Discovery....

Joseph Viney STAFF (2)
Softer/Worse/Slower/Weaker....

Deviant STAFF (3)
In which the robots find themselves a heart...


Comments:Add a Comment 
thebhoy
Emeritus
December 7th 2010


4461 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

because I felt like it.

Knott-
Emeritus
December 7th 2010


10198 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I like this way better than a 3 : (

Xenophanes
Emeritus
December 7th 2010


10614 Comments


You are ridiculously good.

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SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
December 7th 2010


16455 Comments


awesome review dude.

Digging: Zella Day - Zella Day

thebhoy
Emeritus
December 7th 2010


4461 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

thank you!

I don't know Knott, it's enjoyable, but it feels like, w/e another soundtrack

klap
Staff Reviewer
December 7th 2010


10499 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

bleh

Digging: Caribou - Our Love

Xenophanes
Emeritus
December 7th 2010


10614 Comments


but it feels like, w/e another soundtrack


I keep hearing that and that's pretty much the reason I haven't picked it up. Then again the only Daft Punk to have piqued my interest was Discovery.



AggravatedYeti
December 7th 2010


7685 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I really like this review but have a feeling I won't agree with you on the album's (lack of) quality.
but I'll get back to you Keelers.

OutOfMyself
December 7th 2010


688 Comments


I really hope the movie is better than the soundtrack, this was so underwhelming.

thebhoy
Emeritus
December 7th 2010


4461 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

movie looks sweet

conradtao
Emeritus
December 7th 2010


2090 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

good review, i agree with everything you say. pos

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
December 7th 2010


23909 Comments


awesome review. i'm going to wait until I see the movie to listen to and rate this.

Digging: RATKING - So It Goes

FyodorDostoevsky
December 8th 2010


412 Comments


original Tron was SO good. way ahead of its time

Irving
Staff Reviewer
December 8th 2010


7312 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

thebhoy, I am curious. What was your major in university? Because you clearly have a penchant for this article/essay-writing thingy.

Oh, and pos.

Ponton
Emeritus
December 8th 2010


5804 Comments


elegant writing keelan

Winsomniac
December 8th 2010


7983 Comments


Hmmm, very interesting. Now I DEFINITELY want to wait on this until Tron, though. Maybe out of context afterward. Pos.

thebhoy
Emeritus
December 8th 2010


4461 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Irving: English and history, so yeah I've had practice haha

thebhoy
Emeritus
December 8th 2010


4461 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

yeah but the kind of awkward shaped tits. Still fun but not really that satisfying

FatChickIrl
December 8th 2010


4096 Comments


its a 3 definitely, still a fun listen tho

AggravatedYeti
December 8th 2010


7685 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

sometimes this is wicked good and sometimes it's just, ya know, there

but I'd love to employ Daft Punk for a score because with visuals I feel this would be perfect.




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