Friday, February 11, 2011

Tron: Legacy Original Soundtrack - Daft Punk

Despite being heavily into synth music, I've never been a huge Daft Punk fan.  I guess because I felt their music leaned towards trance, and I'm not a big fan of trance-- I'm a big fan of melodies with wild sounds.  Hence my favorite artists have more been along the lines of Information Society, Pet Shop Boys, Adamski, that kind of thing.

But I've always had respect for Daft Punk.  I mean, you've got to respect any band that hires Leiji Matsumoto to do an entire series of music videos!  Not to mention I always enjoyed their music when I saw their videos, starting with "Around the World" back in the 90's.

So when I heard they were doing the music for the new Tron, I was familiar enough with their sound to be very pleased.  This was a move on a par with getting Wendy Carlos for the original, and I could see their trance sound working great with the Tron universe.

And now that the movie and soundtrack have been out for nearly two months and I've gotten to spend a good amount of time with both, I can honestly say that it looks like having not been a Daft Punk fan has actually worked in my favor.  I went into the movie with few expectations of what the music score would sound like beyond having synthesizers.  What I got is the kind of music I love best: a blend of different styles (in this case, synth and orchestral) and recurring themes.  The opening music ("The Grid") grabbed me right out of the gate, I absolutely loved "End of Line" (and in fact all the music from the End of Line Club), and the end titles just blew me away.

After seeing the film a second time, I knew I had to buy this soundtrack.  So I did, and for the next few weeks, I was hearing it in my head no matter what I did.  In the morning when I was moving slow and trying to start my day I'd hear "Outlands" or "Armory" in my mind.  When I was rushing to get something done, I'd hear "Fall."  And when I was excited, well, then I'd really be jamming, so it would be the "End Titles."

I was also pleasantly surprised to hear Jeff Bridges' opening dialogue left in on "The Grid." His son's line, "You got in," and his reply, "That's right, man," are left out; while they're perfect for the movie, leaving them out so it goes "Until one day... I got in" gives it a better flow as a piece of music.  It's the only vocal sample on the entire album, and it works great.

So I was playing this album a lot, and the more I played it, the more I had this itch to see the movie yet again.  Now, I can't tell you the last time I saw a movie in the theaters three times, but I knew I couldn't wait for DVD.  Every piece of music conjured up the stunning images of the film in my head, and it was an itch I had to scratch.  I had to at least see this movie one more time, now knowing the music, so I could really let myself fall into both the visual and audio spectacle of it joined together.

I can't remember the last time that's happened to me.  The last time that I've loved a soundtrack so much that I don't just grab the one or two tracks off of it for a playlist, but really just appreciated it as a complete musical work and can't stop listening to it.  The last time I've loved a soundtrack so much that I've actually gone to see the movie again just to pay attention to how the music flows with the visuals.  That is a remarkable achievement, and Daft Punk has created a remarkable work of art with this album.

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