So this time, since it's only Daft Punk as the composers, I got the chance to look a little more into them and how this whole thing came to be. This was one of those acts I'd heard of my whole life by never truly listened to. A close friend of mine threw a copy of Discovery my way one night, and I think I listened to it about 3 times in a row, never skipping a track.
Yup, easily hooked, what can I say.
So how this soundtrack... this really awesome, slightly addicting soundtrack... came to be. The director of the film, Joseph Kosinski, along with Jason Bentley (music supervisor) approached and asked the guys to compose the score. Makes total sense, given the nature of the movie. Thomas Bangalter (one of the guys in Daft Punk - first time I've heard either of their names too) actually missed out on composing the soundtrack for Enter the Void since he was preoccupied with this. Another insane movie, in sort of a different way. Well, I guess I say that only having seen the first 10 minutes. But yeah, anywhos, he wound up just filling in as the sound effects director on that one instead.
The details of the soundtrack are pretty awesome. There's an 85-piece orchestra used, and it was recorded in London with conductor Gavin Greenaway. The whole thing as intended to be a mix of orchestral and electronic music, and that mark was certainly hit. The score that Daft Punk wrote wound up being arranged and orchestrated by Joseph Trapanese, who collaborated with them on the score for two years. God I want to work like that - complete devotion to the music of a movie, from pre-production all the way through final completion.
Gavin's comments on the work - I have to share: “It seems complicated at the end of the day, but it’s actually quite simple. I was locked in a room with robots for almost two years and it was simply a lot of hard work. We were just together working throughout the whole process and there was never a point where the orchestra was not in their minds and the electronics were not in my mind. It was a continual translation between the two worlds and hopefully we put something together that will be something different because of that."
I guess we should get into it, huh?
The "Overture" is basically a tone, which you don't even realize it happening until about 30 seconds in. Then slowly, we hear the film theme of the majesty that is Tron. Really, watch the movie - the whelm of the notes coming into the beginning have this awesome sense of epic-ness, like you know you're about to see something incredible. 85-piece orchestra here.
If you read my other review a few days ago of the remix album for this soundtrack, you may remember me saying that "The Grid" is a song I never get sick of, in any way shape or form. Jeff Bridges, steal my heart every time you crazy old fool. His voice was just so right for the kick-off here, driving us back into the old story and linking it to what's to come.
"The Son of Flynn" is, aside from that theme that kind of makes my heart race every time I hear it, where I believe the composers start to shine at their best. The electronic elements are starting to take center stage and be the voice over the instruments.
The same beat as the last song is given in "Recognizer," but in a completely different tone. It's a prime example of how the two portions of the soundtrack, instruments and electronics, worked together complement each other and can change the entire piece in their own separate way. There's a sense of danger here as we enter deeper into the story. And though I couldn't begin to tell you where this was placed in the movie itself exactly, the horns are a reminder that it doesn't matter. The music is it.
"Armory" frightens a little with these incredibly intense tones at the start. About 2 minutes in though, there's this slight background sound of the electronic rips we heard earlier. There's something hidden underneath in such a brilliant way.
I think right about now is when we start to see the root of the film's happenings with "Arena." Everything is sincerely kicked up a notch. Drums are brought in with this incredible intensity and overtaking power, giving a sound yet unheard throughout the rest of the score. It's almost like, oh, you thought you knew where this was going, but just wait... we've always got more.
"Rinzler" takes it further. There's an underlying tone and then these drums just... hit. And it's tough. It's incredibly tough. There's almost a comfort when the electronic elements come back in. It's not so much a battle - it's just one over another becomes easier to hear. Then it gets into this extreme build of strings and the drums are fighting back and... holy cow, I really just need to see this movie again.
In my head, "The Game Has Changed" is approximately where the second of the three acts sort of starts. It has tones just like "The Grid" and "Son of Flynn," and we're reminded of where we started, but also of where we've come from and through. Everything's picking up speed and intensity, but with a muffled, almost under-water feel to the ears. Yeah, everything's different now. The horns that provided a lot of the opening theme that was so great are trying to push through.
"Outlands" is something completely different. The strings have almost full control, while everything else is in the background. There's even a sort of positive hope to it, even when the undertones try to have a stronger influence and take over. Is this making sense to anyone else?
One of my favorite remixes was for the next track, "Adagio for TRON." It's just gorgeous. It's dark, in a way, but there's something about it. It slows down so much of the entire soundtrack and gives this extreme moment of zen and sadness.
"Nocturne" takes a continual downward turn in tones. There's a looming tenseness to it, and these moments where the volume steps up so much you think your heart or your ears are going to break - whichever come first.
The pace is picked back up for "End of Line," which garnered a Grammy nod in remix form. Time to step up and do something. Time to make a difference. The hero fights in this one. How much more do you want me to throw out there? The sense of determination is mighty here, almost like a call to arms.
And here we are, to the video released from the soundtrack... "Derezzed."
"Fall" is one of those, if you were watching it set to something on screen, you'd know that shit's going down. It's an absolute mood-setter for something that's about to come, no matter what it will or will not be.
Another one that was remixed on the other album was "Solar Sailer." I'm listening to this album through headphones at a Starbucks, and this is immersive. Despite the speakers in this room being pretty loud, this track has a way of drowning everything else out. I'm not sure if its the tones in the background or the ominous and repetitious melody going on. But it's nice to ignore everything else for a minute.
In a very Star Wars esq move, we get "Rectifier." Maybe my movie-buff friends will hate me for saying that, but all I can think of is the empire march or whatever it was. Impending doom. Dun dun dun....
"Disc Wars" continues that theme, as though we're marching off to, well, war. The beat is steady and building as we continue into the track further. Those drums come back and are getting closer and closer. It's one of the more terrifying tracks in the score, and a lot to take in, but there's still that electronic Daft Punk theme that helps handling it so much. There may be hope yet.
Unfortunately, we're not left with much hope for long, as "C.L.U." comes in to remind us. Even with this interesting electronic drumming, I don't think this track is meant to be on our side. The climax of the film has got to be happening right about now, but I was too engrossed a year ago to notice.
"Arrival" starts off with those horns and the theme we loved so much at the beginning. They're slower, and more careful, but they're there, and it sparks some hope. It's an all-encompassing feeling of arrival, this time in triumph. There's even something extra, because of the journey taken and the destination being different than we could have ever hoped. Because, after all, who's to say that the end point can't be different for the better?
Then, of course, we get the final in-film song, "Flynn Lives." Everything comes together and out of the grid, and we're on to life in a much different manner than expected. There's almost a sigh of relief in there, but with a bit of anticipation on what's next.
"TRON Legacy (End Titles)" is so completely Daft Punk - it's awesome. It's a great track of electronic modes and movie influences. It's a great summation of the music throughout the film and an homage to the guys that did it... by the guys that did it.
The "Finale," something I wasn't expecting, almost feels like it leaves room for more. Is there supposed to be another one? Will Daft Punk star in it as I almost felt like they should have here? Will it be as awesome? Oh the questions... And oh the feeling of hating this as the final thing going through my headphones after this amazing score has been completed.
Added To My Playlist:
- "Overture" - Spotify, YouTube
- "The Gird" - Spotify, YouTube
- "The Game Has Changed" - Spotify, YouTube
- "Outlands" - Spotify, YouTube
- "Adagio for TRON" - Spotify, YouTube
- "End of Line" - Spotify, YouTube
- "Derezzed" - Spotify, YouTube
- "Solar Sailer" - Spotify, YouTube
- "Arrival" - Spotify, YouTube
- "TRON: Legacy (End Titles)" - Spotify, YouTube
What bugs me out a bit is that the soundtrack is only 58 minutes long - that means there may actually be silent moments in this movie. Weird. Okay, I'm going to go ahead and ignore that and pretend like I was surrounded by majestic music throughout each moment.
This is really an incredible score when it comes down to it. They hit it right in just about every way, let alone the innovation of the music itself. The songs were written completely with the movie in mind, not picked later to fit scenes. The score and film worked hand-in-hand in a way unlike what you hear in anything other than the epics these days. It will be hard to beat this one for the grammy in question.