13 December 2010

"Tron Legacy": Daft Punk's Digital Symphony

Daft Punk's amazing soundtrack for "Tron Legacy" at times resembles Avatar's lethargic soundscapes, but more so evokes "Dark Knight"'s psychological dramaticity. (I actually didn't know the French duo had co-produced "Tron Legacy" with Hans Zimmer, who greatly enjoys the Bethovian-style doorknocks we insistently listen in Batman sequel movies). I'll leave it to music critics and ethnomusicologists to extract genealogies of artists and sounds that make up the album universe, and will rather place some notes on social implications and multimedia connections.

One of my main concerns has been to assess to what extent electronica emerges/pops/arises onto the mainstream, via popular culture or media industry. Is "Tron Legacy" an example? Somewhat but not quite. Daft Punk arguably is one of the most well connected underground artists in terms of media/entertainment industry appearances (e.g., Sony cell phone, DJ Hero soundtracks, etc.). From their origins in 1990s French House, the duo Homem-Cristo and Bagalter does a great job in laying ambient electronic with orchestral symphonics arrangements for Tron Legacy, creating engaging digital soundscapes that is well suited to the movie's digital dreamlike sceneries.

However, don't expect any smashing sounds from the underground, but rather a softer version of ambient music occasionally peppered with hair-raising "acidy" sounds (I wonder if Roland 303s are still used at Disney high-end studios). In sum, this is no underground resistance music, but some interesting exercise (gym) for your mind, with a sentimental touch.

The movie? Well, this is Disney: child-oriented father-son drama; no blood (yet some robot busting), no sex (but some sexy chicks). It looks as though like an interesting view into digital imaginaries of the future, now.


  1. Child orientated father son drama? lol... That's one way to describe Milton's Paradise Lost.

    Don't you remember? Satan stood in Eden, staring at the fruit from the tree of knowledge before flinging it from the table? This movie had a lot more going on than you know, but then being "child orientated, kids and guys like you wouldn't pick it up."

    Oh, and AMAZING soundtrack.

  2. Ah, so that's why I had such a Zimmer-like fuzzy feeling. Thanks.

  3. Any blockbuster hit that includes both Daft Punk and Pretty Lights is incredible. The movie itself was also very awesome visually. The story is well crafted and not at all cliche as you'd expect from a Disney film.

    Yea, it's unfortunate the EDM scene is becoming increasingly mainstream, but at the same time it only means more people are awakening to the love EDM spreads as well.