By Joseph Viney
On paper it’s a match made in heaven; the enigmatic techno-bods Daft Punk scoring the soundtrack to the sci-fi geek’s paradise that is Disney’s long-awaited sequel to Tron. Disney must be commended in some way for having the foresight to enlist Daft Punk instead of opting for a faceless conductor or agoraphobic studio bod. Daft Punk, with their experience and willingness to push the envelope, have yet to work so closely in conjunction with a film studio prior to this release. OSTs do have certain limitations, but are the master of futuristic dance-floor fillers able to clear such obstacles?
Those of you expecting a coherent, catchy and more traditional LP will be disappointed, the album being pockmarked with unfulfilling one minute orchestral tracks that fulfil an official soundtrack’s obligation to navigate the events of the movie in question. With the majority of a movie score designed to nestle comfortably into the background, like an aural pillow while the action takes place on-screen, it tends to be a situation out of the hands of the creators. Not even the experienced and revered Daft Punk can be seen to upstage the film itself.
One of the drawbacks of an official OST release are the track titles. Sometimes an OST track list can be punctuated by meandering songs with names such as ‘Man Walking Down Corridor And Through A Door’. Aesthetically it’s never pleasing nor does it tend to fill the listener with a sense of trepidation and excitement. Luckily, Daft Punk have avoided such inanity by keeping their titles consistent with both their back catalogue and the theme of the film, combining the two to suitably enigmatic effect. Here, we’re left with the mysterious selection of track names like ‘The Game Has Changed’, ‘Armory’ and ‘Arena’ which, incidentally, happen to be three of the weakest tracks on the album.
A lot has been made of Daft Punk’s foray into a more overtly orchestral sound this time around but a lot of it has gone to waste. Only the soaring ‘Adagio For TRON’ lifts its head above the water with the rest of the orchestral tracks sounding both alarmingly similar and completely uninspiring.
Inevitably, it’s when Daft Punk fall back on tried and tested methods that the album is kick-started into life. ‘Derezzed’ is a minefield of beeps, bloops and other electronic wonders and despite the track in question being criminally short, does wonders overall for the album. Penultimate track ‘TRON Legacy (End Titles)’ is much in the same vein, relying on that trademark Daft Punk sound to boost an LP that has, by this point, stuttered and slalomed its way to an unsatisfactory conclusion.
The more casual fan would do well to trim this down into a lean and spirited six track EP, as I imagine only the most ardent fan could repeatedly sit through the LP in its entirety.
5 OUT OF 10