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Section Header
Tron: Legacy
(2010)
Composed and Co-Produced by:
Thomas Bangalter
Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo

Arranged and Orchestrated by:
Joseph Trapanese
Toby Chu

Conducted by:
Gavin Greenaway

Co-Produced by:
Mitchell Leib

Labels and Dates:
Walt Disney Records
(Limited Edition)
(December 6th, 2010)

Walt Disney Records
(Regular Edition)
(December 7th, 2010)

Walt Disney Records
(iTunes Edition)
(December 7th, 2010)

Walt Disney Records
(Amazon.com Edition)
(December 7th, 2010)

Also See:
Tron
Inception
Cherry 2000
The Terminator

Audio Clips:
Limited Edition:

CD1: 9. Outlands (0:31):
WMA (202K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

CD1: 12. End of Line (0:31):
WMA (202K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

CD1: 20. Flynn Lives (0:30):
WMA (200K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

CD2: 2. ENCOM, Part II (0:30):
WMA (200K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

Availability:
There is no single satisfactory release of all available music. The American regular edition and international limited edition are CD releases, the latter containing five additional tracks on a second CD. The download albums from iTunes and Amazon.com each contain exclusive tracks. All albums utilize the same cover art and were initially priced very competitively.

Awards:
  Nominated for a Grammy Award.









Tron: Legacy
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Sales Rank: 1969


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Buy it... if you tire of convention and are prepared for one of the most original-sounding, distinctly rendered mergings of orchestral force and unique synthetic soundscapes to ever be combined in a film score.

Avoid it... if you expect to hear all of the best music from Daft Punk's impressive score on one album, for Disney will force you to buy it in pieces from three separate sources (some of which lossy) to assemble into a presentation that should have been provided on one comprehensive product.



Tron: Legacy: (Daft Punk) The concept of Tron has always represented all the things that get the juices flowing in teenage boys. It's a fetish for any smart young geek in need of escape or recognition, combining into one glorious package video games, imaginative worlds, sexy ass-kicking chicks, competitive sports, electronic music, and those sleek neon lights that such guys seem to like to install in the undercarriage of their cars so they look really cool to underclassmen on rainy nights. The original 1982 film was not a classic because of its screenplay or its acting, but because it so creatively represented all of the above necessities for a generation of teenage boys. It took much longer than expected for a sequel to be finalized, yet Disney's 2010 reemergence of the novel universe in Tron: Legacy appeals and repulses for the same exact reasons as its predecessor. Intellectuals will complain about the nebulous plot, conservatives will lament the technological debauchery, and stupid people will fail to explore what few interesting metaphors about relationships that do toil in the concept's alternate reality. Dazzling the sequel will be for teenage boys, however, for the money withheld from the editing of the screenplay for Tron: Legacy was clearly redirected (reportedly with some rumored help from Pixar) in the direction of the special effects. Those stunning visuals combine with reprised roles by Jeff Bridges and Bruce Boxleitner to modernize the idea of becoming trapped inside an arcade game that has, for the past twenty years, been evolving into its own universe with two versions of Bridges inside. His son's entry into the game to rescue him gives that aforementioned next generation of teenage boys yet another hero to imagine as themselves. Even before the year of post-production work done on the special effects, the director and producer of Tron: Legacy had long known the style of sound they wished to hear in accordance with those visuals. They were fans of the French techno and electronic duo Daft Punk and asked them (Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo in real life) to not only write music early in the production process, but in turn appear in the film as DJ's. The pair's iconic performance personas, complete with robot costumes and an abundance of flashy lights, were a perfect match for Tron: Legacy.

By their own accounts, Bangalter and De Homem-Christo were huge fans of the concept and Wendy Carlos' music for the 1982 film, but their biggest challenge involved finding the same balance of electronic and organic sound that had made Carlos' score so memorable and effective. Bangalter had minor previous scoring experience, but the duo had never tackled an assignment together, nor had they ever before handled an orchestral ensemble. The key to success for them was to extend as much of their club-worthy techno style as possible without relegating their work for Tron: Legacy to classification as simple fetish music. After all, what appeals as trance and techno dance material in Europe would likely not alone carry a blockbuster motion picture even as well suited to them as this one. Thus, they sought a significant amount of help to acquire the services of a large London orchestral ensemble and several people familiar with those players. The most likely recipients of thanks are Hans Zimmer, John Powell, and Harry Gregson-Williams, whose often shared crews contributed to Tron: Legacy. The meat of the task was handled by Joseph Trapanese, though it is more interesting to note that Bruce Broughton, a longtime veteran with these London symphonic recordings, is credited with some consultation work on the orchestrations. Ultimately, however, with Disney involved, it's no surprise that the score was ultimately assembled at Zimmer's Remote Control back in America, leading to comparisons (both deserved and not) between this score and the mass of anonymous material coming out of that production house nowadays. Despite some familiarity in certain facets of the recording of Tron: Legacy, however, the result of Daft Punk's efforts is far more creative than what you'd usually hear from a Zimmer clone using the Remote Control library alone. Bangalter and De Homem-Christo do reference that library, but they do so as only a background element in a score that proves that fresh perspectives are always a good thing in Hollywood. The duo credits the unlikely combination of Max Steiner, Maurice Jarre, Bernard Herrmann, John Carpenter, and Vangelis when citing their influences for this endeavor. Where Steiner, Jarre, and Herrmann can be heard in the score is anyone's guess; this music has as much to do with Golden and Silver Age sensibilities as penguins have with tanning salons.

You can clearly hear that the composers for Tron: Legacy do channel their affinity for the music of Carpenter and Vangelis, however, and film music collectors will also hear some influence from the works of Brad Fiedel and Basil Poledouris as well. Lost in the equation is a specific reliance upon (or even straight acknowledgement of) the sound of Wendy Carlos for the original; although there have been claims that her music had some kind of impact on Daft Punk, the only carryover is the basic blend of ingredients. Those expecting to hear specific elements from Carlos' cult favorite score will be disappointed, although one cue does fleetingly reference some of her thematic material in a manner that it is barely recognizable. Likewise, those who go to Daft Punk performances will also find less than ten minutes of straight techno material suitable for their sensibilities. Ironically, the score for Tron: Legacy is more likely to appeal to orchestral film score collectors than Daft Punk fanatics. The handling of the ensemble isn't spectacular, with the orchestrations rather simplistic, the progressions predictable, and techniques like counterpoint and dissonance applied without complexity. Fortunately, the orchestration is competent, so the driving harmonic rhythms and the major thematic performances are easy on the ears and will satisfy the masses in theatres. Continuity in the score is maintained by both the balance between electronic and symphonic instrumentation and the score's main theme and rhythmic motifs. The one major theme is quite memorable in its simplicity, barely enhanced by electronics as it is introduced with timpani rolling and cymbal-crashing glory in "Overture." It is transferred to keyboards in Vangelis mode in "The Grid" for a similarly powerful performance, though the idea goes largely unused in much of the middle section of the score. The entire package would undoubtedly have been stronger had it featured more subtle explorations of the idea, as in "Father and Son." But for those who want their bombastic themes to serve as only bookends, Tron: Legacy does revive its main idea with significant repetition in "Flynn Lives" and the "Finale" and "End Titles" cues. The only other significant thematic creation can be heard in "Adagio for Tron," a romantic theme that emulates Carlos' score in very slow tempi. The combination of strings and organ in the first two minutes seem like something of a nod to Carlos, though the idea is beefed up to Zimmer anthem posture in the latter half of that cue, even utilizing a yearning cello solo in the same fashion that the renown composer has preferred through the years.

Aside from their two easily discernable themes for Tron: Legacy, Bangalter and De Homem-Christo maintain continuity with a series of rhythmic devices for the strings as well. Heard first under Jeff Bridges' well-performed narration in "The Grid," the most frequent incarnation of this ostinato takes John Powell mannerisms and gives it an extra dose of Zimmer testosterone in "Recognizer," Tron: Legacy's ode to the ballsy brute force of Inception. The ostinatos merge with the electronics by "The Game Has Changed," sometimes to grating effect. They slow down to get better footing in "Disc Wars," by which point they begin to resemble Steve Jablonsky's work for the Transformers franchise (especially in this score's tendency to build up to a crescendo over several minutes). A singular, more impressive set of string rhythms exists in "Outlands" and "Outlands, Part II," cues that very clearly reflect Poledouris' quirky but likeable Cherry 2000 in its layers of enthusiastic activity. For those seeking the score's best developed orchestral constructs (along with a similarly secondary touch of keyboarded enhancements), the two "Outlands" cues are impressive highlights. There are a handful of cues that feature the London players almost exclusively, the lovely "Adagio for Tron," a sadly underused idea in the score as a whole, followed by the anonymous but pleasant "Nocturne." Also in this category is the more standard orchestral pair of "Overture" and "Finale," which only overlay a slight electronic accent to bolster the bass during their major, closing thematic performances. One of the detractions of Tron: Legacy is that despite all the attempts by its composers to integrate the orchestra with the electronics, few cues actually manage to do it very thoroughly. Low key cues like "Armory" and "Arrival" make little impact compared to the wholesale battles in the mix that erupt in "The Game Has Changed" and "Disc Wars." While the electronic aspects of some of these cues, as in the former, can be quite irritating and actually induce the distortion effects of high gain levels (the same mixing technique nearly ruins "C.L.U."), moments like the latter add the synthetic element very tastefully to otherwise Zimmer-like rhythms of rolling power. Among the best maturations of combined string ostinato and keyboarding comes across the "ENCOM, Part I" and "ENCOM, Part II" tracks. The "End Titles" cue is the best (and overdue) merging of both halves, despite cheesy dance percussion from the 1990's in its first half. The cue's slow transformation from a typical Daft Punk club piece into a mighty orchestral finale is entertaining.

The score's purely electronic side is a bit difficult to tolerate at times (from the perspective of a film score collector, of course), though when Daft Punk channels Vangelis or Poledouris, the results are far more palatable than when they go for Carpenter's more aggressive demeanor or their own techno sounds. Prickly keyboarding in "The Son of Flynn" tries to be too contemporary for its own good, though the trio of watery, smoothly keyboarded, new-age styled "Solar Sailer," "Father and Son," and "Sea of Simulation" once again remind of Poledouris' trademark 1990's style, the "Solar Sailer" cue specifically recalling Wind (most appropriately) and "Sea of Simulation" extending out of the "Outlands" Poledouris-like material. The least tolerable cues in Tron: Legacy may be those that resurrect Brad Fiedel's tones from his The Terminator scores; from "Arena" to "Reflections," the intentionally aged synthetic tones don't always yield a pleasurable listening experience. The trio of "End of Line," "Derezzed," and "Castor" include trance-like dance loops so aggressive that they should probably be separated onto their own section of an album. Likewise, "Round One," "Rinzler," and "Fall" are daunting to sit through, the latter two exhibiting the distortion effect either intentionally or due to bad mixing of the albums' gain levels. Some of this striking tone is excusable simply because it is applied as source music in the film; not only is Daft Punk shown performing in the movie, but the "Derezzed" cue was heavily push as a teaser for fans of the duo as both the music in one of the film's trailers and an advanced release as a single download track before the rest of the albums were available. All things considered together, Tron: Legacy has to be considered a triumph for Daft Punk because of one undeniable factor: at a time when composers use synthesizers to make everything sound like the 1990's Media Ventures glory days, this score doesn't try to conform; instead, the electronics intentionally sound like transfers from the 1980's and 1990's. The style of the electronic half of the score still originates from the old arcade game days, and Daft Punk has to be credited with taking those familiar, applicable tones and infusing them into an otherwise streamlined orchestral backdrop. The drum pads may be tired, sure, but it's not everyday you actually get to hear old 80's sound effects from those games developed into rhythms as in "End of Line." And it doesn't get any more raw than taking the sound of an electrical current (and associated zapping effects) and harmonizing it in various pitches to denote a virtual reality.

Overall, Tron: Legacy is a success of a score. It proves that the same pieces to the giant musical puzzle can still be rearranged into something both fresh and generally palatable. It will require rearrangement by nearly any listener, but there's something for everyone here. Only a lack of consistency in the tone of the electronic/symphonic blend is a major detraction; the narrative flow is intact, but that immense orchestral title theme could have used far more creative manipulation in the realm of the synthetic. Additionally, Tron: Legacy is the kind of score that frequently betrays its influences. You sometimes hear this kind of thing when you have novice composers thrust upon a big stage, and film score collectors will in particular need to turn off their brains to fully appreciate this music. For instance, to hear "Rinzler" overlap the slapping percussion from Powell's scores for Green Zone and the Bourne films with Vangelis' rambling rhythms from the 1980's can be distracting. And yet, this cue, as with nearly all of them, suffices because it's a combination that hasn't been attempted before. Less original, unfortunately, is what Walt Disney Records decided to do to consumers in an effort to bilk an extra buck from Daft Punk fans. There have been many disgraceful releases of soundtracks over the previous ten years, but the situation with Tron: Legacy not only establishes a new low in terms of the division of the score onto differing products, but also makes no sense for the market in 2010. In order for a fan of this score to acquire all of the commercially available music for Tron: Legacy (amounting to almost 80 minutes), he or she will be forced, at least initially, to purchase three of four separate products. Forget the fact that 79 minutes of this score would have fit nicely onto one CD. Instead, 59 minutes is presented on the score's primary release to the American market (including Bridges' introductory narration, a great inclusion). A simultaneous "Limited Edition" album licensed for sale outside of the United States (and reportedly focused on Europe) adds a second CD with twelve more minutes in five cues and a variety of enhanced-CD content. The iTunes release includes two additional unique tracks at six minutes (that were initially available only when you purchased the full album) and the Amazon.com MP3 download has an exclusive 3-minute track that initially appears to be available to download alone. Thus, if you want to hear all of this material, you'll have to buy at least the international set, the iTunes tracks, and the Amazon.com track. If you want it all in lossless format, you're out of luck. No initial reports of one overarching compilation CD album have surfaced.

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Usually, the bonus tracks exclusive to the download option of an album aren't noteworthy, but that's not the case with Tron: Legacy. The five cues on the "limited" international set aren't spectacular, but they also contain something for everyone. The "ENCOM, Part I" and "ENCOM, Part II" cues include further exploration of the aggressive string ostinatos, with slight brass and distant bass keyboarding contributing in the first cue. The second part overlays interesting synthetic textures to good effect. Both "Round One" and "Castor" contain dispensable, harder synthetic rhythms in pulsation mode, culminating in a continuation of the style in "Derezzed." Finally, "Reflections" returns to the ostinato, but with overbearing Fiedel-like keyboarded tones. While these cues aren't really essential, the tragedy comes with the exclusive download tracks, all three of which belonging on any decent presentation of music from Tron: Legacy. The two iTunes cues are great, starting with a tender keyboarded rendering of the title theme over soft orchestral backing in "Father and Son." Likewise, "Outlands, Part II" is a very satisfying extension of the other "Outlands" cue's rhythm, but with stronger bass enhancements and breathy vocal effects. The bonus track available from Amazon.com is "Sea of Simulation," a similar cue to "Solar Sailer" that extends the "Outlands" rhythmic motif with satisfying harmony and continued watery keyboarding. To force consumers (and especially audiophiles) to buy these three MP3's is a tremendous disservice to listeners and, despite Disney's likely reason for taking this route, it doesn't necessary translate to riches for the label. Ten to fifteen years ago, ploys like this worked, mostly because Internet sharing was in its infancy. But in 2010, especially with the kind of techno-savvy listeners attracted to both Daft Punk and modern film music, Disney is setting itself up for an illegal file-sharing bonanza. Considering the condition of the economy as well, listeners simply aren't going to calmly shuffle between these purchasing options and dutifully buy them all. Instead, they're going to wait for people to put up FLAC and MP3 compilations of all the sources and acquire them illegally instead. Dividing out the content was a dumb move by Disney in this environment and with this audience, a decision so motivated by greed that it will likely compel fans to bootleg the soundtrack more than they naturally would. None of these questionable actions by Disney should be held against Daft Punk, however, for the score itself is a surprising success that transcends any expectations that it would be a fetish score suitable for groping in clubs rather than groping in darkened theatres.   Amazon.com Price Hunt: CD or Download

    Music as Written for the Film: ****
    Music as Presented on the Albums: *
    Overall: ***




 Viewer Ratings and Comments:  


Regular Average: 3.37 Stars
Smart Average: 3.25 Stars*
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   Tron: Legacy, a messy album release.
  Corey -- 2/29/12 (10:25 a.m.)
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  Southall -- 4/9/11 (11:29 a.m.)
   Techno Zimmer
  Doppity -- 2/10/11 (5:23 p.m.)
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 Track Listings (Regular Edition): Total Time: 58:36


• 1. Overture (2:28)
• 2. The Grid (1:37)
• 3. The Son of Flynn (1:35)
• 4. Recognizer (2:38)
• 5. Armory (2:03)
• 6. Arena (1:33)
• 7. Rinzler (2:18)
• 8. The Game Has Changed (3:25)
• 9. Outlands (2:42)
• 10. Adagio for Tron (4:11)
• 11. Nocturne (1:42)
• 12. End of Line (2:36)
• 13. Derezzed (1:44)
• 14. Fall (1:23)
• 15. Solar Sailer (2:42)
• 16. Rectifier (2:14)
• 17. Disc Wars (4:11)
• 18. C.L.U. (4:39)
• 19. Arrival (2:00)
• 20. Flynn Lives (3:22)
• 21. Tron Legacy (End Titles) (3:18)
• 22. Finale (4:23)




 Track Listings (Limited Edition): Total Time: 70:49


CD 1: (58:36)
• 1. Overture (2:28)
• 2. The Grid (1:37)
• 3. The Son of Flynn (1:35)
• 4. Recognizer (2:38)
• 5. Armory (2:03)
• 6. Arena (1:33)
• 7. Rinzler (2:18)
• 8. The Game Has Changed (3:25)
• 9. Outlands (2:42)
• 10. Adagio for Tron (4:11)
• 11. Nocturne (1:42)
• 12. End of Line (2:36)
• 13. Derezzed (1:44)
• 14. Fall (1:23)
• 15. Solar Sailer (2:42)
• 16. Rectifier (2:14)
• 17. Disc Wars (4:11)
• 18. C.L.U. (4:39)
• 19. Arrival (2:00)
• 20. Flynn Lives (3:22)
• 21. Tron Legacy (End Titles) (3:18)
• 22. Finale (4:23)
CD 2: (12:13)
• 1. ENCOM, Part I (3:53)
• 2. ENCOM, Part II (2:18)
• 3. Round One (1:41)
• 4. Castor (2:19)
• 5. Reflections (2:42)




 Track Listings (iTunes Edition): Total Time: 64:41


• 1. Overture (2:28)
• 2. The Grid (1:37)
• 3. The Son of Flynn (1:35)
• 4. Recognizer (2:38)
• 5. Armory (2:03)
• 6. Arena (1:33)
• 7. Rinzler (2:18)
• 8. The Game Has Changed (3:25)
• 9. Outlands (2:42)
• 10. Adagio for Tron (4:11)
• 11. Nocturne (1:42)
• 12. End of Line (2:36)
• 13. Derezzed (1:44)
• 14. Fall (1:23)
• 15. Solar Sailer (2:42)
• 16. Rectifier (2:14)
• 17. Disc Wars (4:11)
• 18. C.L.U. (4:39)
• 19. Arrival (2:00)
• 20. Flynn Lives (3:22)
• 21. Tron Legacy (End Titles) (3:18)
• 22. Finale (4:23)
• 23. Father and Son (3:12)
• 24. Outlands, Part II (2:53)




 Track Listings (Amazon.com Edition): Total Time: 61:17


• 1. Overture (2:28)
• 2. The Grid (1:37)
• 3. The Son of Flynn (1:35)
• 4. Recognizer (2:38)
• 5. Armory (2:03)
• 6. Arena (1:33)
• 7. Rinzler (2:18)
• 8. The Game Has Changed (3:25)
• 9. Outlands (2:42)
• 10. Adagio for Tron (4:11)
• 11. Nocturne (1:42)
• 12. End of Line (2:36)
• 13. Derezzed (1:44)
• 14. Fall (1:23)
• 15. Solar Sailer (2:42)
• 16. Rectifier (2:14)
• 17. Disc Wars (4:11)
• 18. C.L.U. (4:39)
• 19. Arrival (2:00)
• 20. Flynn Lives (3:22)
• 21. Tron Legacy (End Titles) (3:18)
• 22. Finale (4:23)
• 23. Sea of Simulation (2:41)




 Notes and Quotes:  


The inserts of the regular and limited CD releases contain a list of performers and notes from the director and producer of the film. The regular product is contained within a glossy cardboard sleeve with text that is difficult to read on the exterior. The actual CD of the regular edition is black on the playing surface, an intriguing novelty. That American product is an Enhanced CD that promises non-music bonus content, but it is in fact a link to a Disney-registered URL that, at the time of this review, was parked at the domain registrar and featured nothing related to this film or score. The limited set includes that content on the actual second CD. All of the albums, on CD and downloaded, utilize the same cover art.





   
  All artwork and sound clips from Tron: Legacy are Copyright © 2010, Walt Disney Records (Limited Edition), Walt Disney Records (Regular Edition), Walt Disney Records (iTunes Edition), Walt Disney Records (Amazon.com Edition). The reviews and other textual content contained on the filmtracks.com site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of Filmtracks Publications. Audio clips can be heard using RealPlayer but cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 12/6/10 (and not updated significantly since). Review Version 5.1 (PHP). Copyright © 2010-2013, Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks Publications). All rights reserved. Not that there's anything wrong with groping, of course.