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Daft Punk - Tron Legacy: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Daft Punk

Tron Legacy: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

(Walt Disney Records)

After 1977 (a.k.a. the post-Star Wars era) the folks at Disney really tried to capture that sci-fi and space movie market. 1980’s magnificently dark epic The Black Hole didn’t win audiences or shuffle those all-important tie-in toys. Then came 1982’s Tron, which was ridiculously ahead of its time and helped to flesh out the concept of virtual reality. It was a modest success but not the huge hit the Mouse was hoping for. So it was a real surprise to hear, nearly thirty years later, that Disney would release a sequel with Jeff “Flynn” Bridges on board. It was almost as big of a surprise—and certainly as pleasant of one—to find that the Parisian electronic music wizards Daft Punk were on board to craft a soundtrack. It’s almost too perfect of a fit. It’s clear just looking at the cyborg masked personas of duo Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter and their laser light show that the world of Tron has always been an inspiration.

Daft Punk fans expecting the Robots to deliver their patented Franco electro-funk beatfest as a wall-to-wall score for the Tron reboot might be a bit let down. There’s at least as much Hans Zimmer as there is Human After All. It’s tough to judge the power of a soundtrack on its own, detached from its intended place as part of a film. Still, it feels like the duo fleshes out a widescreen-worthy score here, borrowing bits of big John Barry bombast and creepy Danny Elfman darkness while maintaining enough of their upside-down electro house schematic. There’s evidence of their fingerprints on the club-thumping “Derezzed,” the Eno ambience of “Solar Sailer,” and “End of the Line,” dolloped over with eight-bit blips and gurgles. Over all, it’s an engrossing listen that should make Daft Punk the go-to composers for soundtrack work with a foot in tradition and the ability to throw a hip skewering in as well.

donny kutzbach

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