One can't help but ask the question: if given the chance, what would two robots compose for an orchestra? There is something just really exciting (and nerdy) about the idea of an electro-pop band like Daft Punk being handed the reins of a 90-piece orchestra and a musical concept as colossal as creating a score for a 3D, visual-oriented film to me. Although this is definitely Daft Punk at its darkest and least funky, its also unmistakably the product of the masked, electro-pop duo we all know and love. What you end up with is high-octane repetition, played out in fuzzy synths and tense, frenetic string passages. But then again, isn't that the same winning aesthetic that Hanz Zimmer has been using throughout his career of scoring Hollywood action blockbusters? There's no doubt Daft Punk didn't learn a thing or two from Mr. Zimmer and other film score specialists with their use of deep brass swells and distorted bass hits. Tracks like "Outlands" and "Rectifier", which lack electronics of any kind, sound like they could have easily been cropped from an action scene from "The Dark Knight", or any number of other films by Jerry Bruckheimer or Christopher Nolan. In fact, to my pleasant surprise, Daft Punk flexes some impressive orchestral compositional muscles, most notably in the slower-moving dramatic, track "Adagio for TRON". Its no surprise, however, that the most exciting tracks such as "The Game Has Changed" and "Derezzed", build they're kinetic energy off club-ready dance beats and catchy video game synth hooks. Daft Punk hinges 8-bit video game soundtracks, classic cinematic tension, and techno-pop upon a foundation of unrelenting minimalism.
Rather than creating any memorable themes or motifs in typical Hollywood fashion, most of the tracks highlight short 8-note rhythmic patterns that repeats on either strings or a synth throughout the entire track in the same way Daft Punk did in so many of their tracks off of Discovery and Human After All (and was even criticized for). Daft Punk themselves, compare their work combining symphonies and synths here to their contrasting of metal and disco in Discovery, and it is for sure every bit as successful. The Tron: Legacy score is an example of a true feedback loop; the culture of minimalism so intertwined within itself that trying to figure out where Daft Punk is getting inspired from is nearly impossible. While the film itself seeks to reveal the similarities between the computer world and the real world, Daft Punk's ambitious film score reveals how similar the worlds of Daft Punk, Hanz Zimmer, video games, and Steve Reich truly are.