x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

CD review: Daft Punk Tron soundtrack

Daft Punk's Tron soundtrack is a great fit, even if it doesn't sound very futuristic.

Daft Punk

Tron: Legacy

Walt Disney Records


There's a tendency in soundtrack albums for Hollywood blockbusters to reach for reliability, which is understandable: a $200 million science-fiction "event movie" such as Disney's Tron: Legacy, aimed at the family market, is not the time for channelling John Cage. The director's invitation to wannabe robots Daft Punk (really a pair of Frenchmen) to score the film caused considerable excitement - the cyberpunk duo obsessed with 1980s retro-futurism, sound-tracking a big-budget follow-up to a 1982 classic about a man trapped in a computer game seemed perfect. What's strange is how lacking in cyborg digitalism it is. As early as the Overture, Daft Punk have scored orchestral music that sounds like a wave crashing, a cymbal smash into a world that is quite definitely real, and analogue - and isn't all that futuristic. The album's functional, narrative role is well executed: C.L.U.'s intense melodrama warns of imminent danger, although, again, it could be almost any major Hollywood movie - save for the late arrival of a pounding club-style drum beat, it feels like there could be a mediaeval army looming over the horizon, rather than trouble in future-world. It's a fine soundtrack, just a bit of a missed opportunity: because when, on tracks such as Nocturne and Derezzed, ebullient 1980s synths boom confidently and then corrode satisfyingly into beeps, this is every bit as great in reality as it is in theory.