Daft Punk pefect fit for Tron: Legacy soundtrack
- Nov 25, 2010
Cast your mind back to last March. It was announced that Daft Punk would be scoring the new Tron film, Tron: Legacy. 80s kids and electro musos the world over were in rapture. Yes. It was actually going to happen. The most successful electronic music innovators of our time would forge a synthesis with the benchmark sci-fi fantasy of a generation. It was the perfect fit and would arguably become one of the most highly anticipated soundtracks of all time.
Whether one is interested in a new Tron film is completely beside the point. The visual universe that the original film created still stands tall in the aesthetic cultural sub conscious. In the sphere of music one need only look to the likes of The Strokes who borrowed the blueprint heavily for their ‘12:51’ video. The Tron style is utterly distinct. To look at it now it is decidedly retro futurist. Quite right then that elusive French duo Daft Punk should be involved from the very off.
The decidedly human Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter have been going under their robot guises for years. Their irrepressible visual prowess is as much part of the parcel as their music. Indeed, ever since trailblazing the French House scene back in the late 90s, Daft Punk have proved themselves to be nothing less than innovators, both musically and visually. In fact they’ve done everything they can to appear not as humans but as robots, quite befitting of a film set almost entirely in a digital realm. It must have been a very quick meeting at Disney over who to get for the soundtrack…
What initially surprises is the fact that the soundtrack is far less electronic than one would suspect. By all accounts they thought long and hard about using orchestration; effectively re-writing their own rulebook. Was this a cardinal sin? By assembling a hundred-piece orchestra for the project had they sold themselves down the river? The answer is a resolute no. They balance the organic and inorganic, the natural and the synthetic, with absolute ease and deft skill.
The likes of ‘Derezzed’ and ‘End of Line’ are all hands on deck Daft Punk floor fillers of old. They glisten like the neon Tron universe they inhabit, whilst the lion’s share of the soundtrack fuses the orchestral with their signature style.
Like any iconic soundtrack the overture and leitmotifs pepper themselves throughout, giving us as listener and viewer suitable emotional grounding in the characters. This would have been nigh on impossible to achieve using only electronic instrumentation and Daft Punk knew this from the off. Rather, because they associate the linear musical themes with varying synth and drum machine patterns, the music achieves a far greater and more immediate emotional resonance than sole orchestration could ever provide.
Daft Punk haven’t taken the easy way by creating two opposing sides for the soundtrack, the orchestral mood pieces and those aimed squarely at dance floor. They have fused the two into a symbiotic unity that is both exhilarating and emotive. Maybe they are human after all…