Tron Legacy: Reconfigured

Tron Legacy: ReconfiguredWith Daft Punk’s pedigree, at least a remix or two of the electronica duo’s music from Tron Legacy was inevitable. But trying to get remixes of that soundtrack to sustain over an entire album? That’s a trickier proposition.

I’m going to admit up front that I have a bias when it comes to remixing: either add something new and interesting or surprising to the original piece, or weave the original into something new and interesting that’s just as compelling… or stay home. It’s not enough for my ears for someone to just slap a beat on top of something. (As you can imagine, this means I can swing from loving it to hating it during the track change on any given remix collection.)

And it’s even pretty easy to figure out which tracks from the original soundtrack will be reworked: “Derezzed”, “End Of Line Club” and the already-heavily-percussive end credits were always going to be early favorites, simply because they’ve already got a beat. But it’s the remixers who go off that predictably beaten path who got my attention on this album.

Paul Oakenfold is no stranger to film scoring himself (Swordfish) and he’s certainly no stranger to electronica, and he turns the already mesmerizing track “CLU” into a mesmerizing track with a hypnotic beat and synths that aren’t constantly competing with what’s already present in the original track. I also applaud both remixes of the not-so-obvious “Son Of Flynn” – both Moby and Ki:Theory manage to bolt some interesting complementary sounds onto it. Kaskade’s reworked “Rinzler” is nice too, speeding up the pace considerably and adding layers that don’t feel out of place.

On the flipside, there are tracks that fall flat for me. “The Fall” is a challenging piece to tackle, since it has a rising tone that, in the movie, built the tension during a scene in a plummeting elevator. That almost-jet-engine-like sound would pose a challenge for any remixer, but the choices made for the M83 vs. Big Black Delta remix of “The Fall” are truly bizarre, taking an already-noisy track and going even further off the deep end.

And as obvious as “Derezzed” seems for the remix treatment, the Glitch Mob remix falls strangely flat; a later reworking by Avicii is better, but it goes off in a completely different direction until the song’s melody is completely transformed into something else.

2 out of 4Maybe a better, and more challenging, approach would’ve been to take the same tack as the track-for-track various artists tribute to Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours several years ago: recreate, track for track and in order, the entire original soundtrack in remix form, rather than winding up with two versions of “Derezzed”, two versions of “Son Of Flynn”, and so on. It’s just possible that such an approach wouldn’t have attracted the prodigious remixing talent that’s on display here, though. Tron Legacy: Reconfigured (or “R3C0NF1GUR3D” as the cover would have it) is half diamonds and half rough, and a bit disjointed – listen to it in little chunks, not all in one sitting.

Order this CD

  1. Derezzed (The Glitch Mob Remix) (4:22)
  2. Fall (M83 vs. Big Black Delta Remix) (3:54)
  3. The Grid (The Crystal Method Remix) (4:27)
  4. Adagio For Tron (Teddybears Remix) (5:34)
  5. The Son Of Flynn (Ki:Theory Remix) (4:51)
  6. C.L.U. (Paul Oakenfold Remix) (4:35)
  7. The Son Of Flynn (Moby Remix) (6:32)
  8. End Of Line (Boys Noize Remix) (5:40)
  9. Rinzler (Kaskade Remix) (6:52)
  10. ENCOM Part 2 (Com Truise Remix) (4:52)
  11. End Of Line (Photek Remix) (5:18)
  12. Arena (The Japanese Popstars Remix) (6:07)
  13. Derezzed (Avicii Remix) (5:03)
  14. Solar Sailer (Pretty Lights Remix) (4:32)
  15. Tron Legacy End Titles (Sander Kleinenberg Remix) (5:04)

Released by: Disney Music
Release date: 2011
Total running time: 77:43

Slipstream – music by Elmer Bernstein

SlipstreamLong coveted by soundtrack collectors, Elmer Bernstein’s Slipstream accompanies a movie that flew under nearly everyone’s radar in 1989. In retrospect, it’s hard to imagine that a movie starring Mark Hamiill and Bill Paxton, and directed by Steven “creator of Tron” Lisberger, could’ve escaped the collective geek consciousness, especially when it’s a post-apocalyptic sci-fi western (more Mad Max than Firefly), but admit it: you don’t remember hearing about this movie either, much less seeing it.

Obviously, however, someone recalls hearing it: the Slipstream soundtrack has been one of the most-requested (and therefore, perversely, elusive) Elmer Bernstein scores from the late composer’s catalog. Bernstein himself had even gone through the trouble of selecting and sequencing tracks for a soundtrack album, but the movie’s failure to fly at the box office nixed those plans. After the composer’s death in 2004, the Slipstream master tapes, like the rest of his work, became part of a collection donated to the University of Southern California. When Perseverance Records set out to meet the demand for a Slipstream CD, they discovered that Bernstein had done much of the work for them.

Musically, Slipstream sounds like a spiritual cousin to Bernstein’s music from Ghostbusters. Both movies’ scores lean heavily on the theremin-like sound of the Ondes Martenot, an instrument whose unusual sound Bernstein championed as something of a personal crusade. Two of the best tracks highlighting this unique sound are “Dreams” and “Lost Android”. The movie’s 3 out of 4
post-apocalyptic world shows humans rediscovering flight, and these scenes get big, soaring musical accompaniment.

I’d heard enough rave reviews of this music over the years that picking it up without having seen the movie itself was a no-brainer; fans of Bernstein’s contributions to Ghostbusters and Heavy Metal will like this one.

  1. Prologue and Pursuit (3:13)
  2. Escape (3:01)
  3. Dreams (4:07)
  4. Lost Android (3:02)
  5. Slipstream People (2:49)
  6. Avatar (4:53)
  7. Travel To Dance (5:56)
  8. Sacrifice (3:11)
  9. Museum Society (3:54)
  10. Android Love (2:54)
  11. Revenge and Resolution (12:21)

Released by: Perseverance Records
Release date: 2011
Total running time: 49:20