The icy slick sound the duo have crafted match the black glassy visuals of the new film perfectly
When it was announced that the French electronic duo Daft Punk would be scoring the hotly anticipated sequel to Tron, the elephant in the room was whether this was “stunt casting” on the part of the producers or a legitimate attempt to infuse something unique into the film’s soundtrack. One could argue that Disney made a similarly unusual choice in Wendy Carlos, the composer of the original film. While it’s true she was a Hollywood outsider, she did have a proven track record of fusing electronic music with a classical orchestra. Daft Punk on the other hand were primarily known for their infectious, sometimes maddeningly repetitious dance music and their eccentric stage shows.
I’m sure there was a strong expectation from many that the pair would simply fill an album with throbbing techno and call it a day, but their music for Tron: Legacy proves to be more subtle and sophisticated. What is immediately surprising is how conventional some of the score is, at least in a modern context. In the three decades since the original film, electronic music is no longer new or novel, and it has unquestionably been “mainstreamed” in the Hollywood film score by the ever growing army of Hans Zimmer protégés. In fact, large chunks of the score sound like they could have by written by Hans Zimmer.
Starting with the anthemic “Overture”, it’s clear the Punk don’t intend to fall back on their dance music heritage. Instead we get a slow, grand theme for horns accompanied by full orchestra and a hint of synthesizer. The theme is repeated in “The Grid” (which loses points for the intrusive Jeff Bridges voiceover – why, Disney, why?) except now fully synthesized. This sense of classicism also pops up in the gorgeous baroque dirge “Adagio for Tron” and the Finale, which reprises the main title theme.