Thursday, 7 April 2011


After the excitement of hearing that Daft Punk were going to release a remix album of their Tron: Legacy soundtrack, I was very excited - but after a few listens, should I be?

I quite like the idea of a remixed version of any album, it might put a new twist on a song or draw focus to something you might not have really noticed before: a bass hook, a lyric or a kick beat that suddenly drives the whole thing into a completely new direction. So when I heard that Daft Punk's album was going to be taken away from the 'film soundtrack' aspect and in a setting they are more familiar with I was jumping up and down like a pubescent boy being taken to a brothel. But it's also like getting there and seeing a 40 year old, gaunt, smoking, big boobed wonder. There's some bits that are good, a lot of people might even enjoy it, you would give it a try, but is it really what you thought it would be?

That might be a bit too harsh of an analysis but in principle it works. For the most part, the best bits of the tracks are the ones taken directly from Daft Punk's original tunes - either it's reinstating their genius or it's because the remix artists didn't really know what to do with what they had - it's not as if it's an album meant for teenyboppers. In some way, it takes the grandeur away and sounds like it should just be a club tune with a few epic sounds thrown in for good measure (isn't that like every commercial dance track?) - but let's break it down tune by tune.

"Derezzed" by The Glitch Mob slows down the main riff and plasters some heavy bass behind it and it's a good opener. It does something a bit different and the silence/release of the main thumping backbeat can be described as somewhat orgasmic at some points. However, it doesn't beat the original but is definitely a worthy mix of a great tune.

M83 and Big Black Delta's "Fall" mix was one of the ones I was looking forward to most. A big fan of M83, I enjoyed the sound but seriously that 'Na-na-na" high pitched thing was driving me MAD! I have to turn it down if I'm near people because it's an embarrassing sound. The rest of it is okay, but I feel like M83 did their bit and these Big Black Delta guys might have ruined it, the big build-up is pretty good but that initial noise makes me want to skip the track. If you can get through that, you'll probably enjoy the rest of the song.

The Crystal Method bring it back on track with what really was a very simple song on the original, "The Grid". At least they've tried to do something different, however I can't help but feel The Crystal Method are dated and some of this sounds like it should be in The Bourne Identity, the staggered violins with some old electronic noises that aren't exactly rocking anyone's world. However, when 3:10 hits in and the Tron:Legacy theme kicks in, it makes it worth while - it's almost as if the beginning of the song was just a complete pre-amble to reach this point. It doesn't have the dramatic effect of the original but it's a nice touch. Shame, I can't help but think if it wasn't again for Daft Punk's talent, this would be just a throwaway dance track. It truly is something a 40 year old DJ would play thinking he's still cool - it kinda works, but it mostly doesn't.

"Adagio For Tron" by Teddybears goes a bit more techno, or 'grindcore' as they are known for. They've taken a rather slow song and basically play around with the volume a bit, the left to right nob, and not much else. I feel like it's sending me to sleep by the time I've finished the song, it's so repetitive and the alien gun blasts going on in the background just sound stupid.

Ki:Theory turn "The Son Of Flynn" into some weird guitar-sounding noise-fest that is basically throughout the whole thing and feels slightly naff. It's a shame since the rest of the sounds going on aren't so bad. The guitar synth sound always jars with me because it's so fake and really can sound shit - like it does here.

I didn't know what to expect of Oakenfold's "C.L.U" seeing as he's one of the better know artists. It's definitely a nightclub tune that actually works quite well. It still feels slightly dated but there's a dark menace to it that keeps to the original's flavour. The 2:22 mark kicks it off into something you'd hear in Ibiza or you know, one of those Spanish islands I never go to. It's one of the stronger tracks on the album and actually turns the song into a stonker of a dance track.

Moby's "The Son of Flynn" is perhaps too close to the previous remix, but his slower - almost heartbeat like rhythm that slowly builds up, is something that he has obviously meticulously looked after. It's very simple and feels quite close to the original song, but it's almost too slow - it's a sound that builds in on itself and almost gets carried away as it's all caught up in the simplicity of it all. It's more like a feeling than an actual song and probably made more for chilling out background music than anything else.

"End Of Line" is one of the more interesting tracks from the original soundtrack and Boys Noize do a good job of making it sound like it was always meant for the dancefloor.

Kaskade's "Rinzler" feels like a Europop wonder that I just can't shake. It's such a piece of filler that could easily sound like any of the other lesser tracks on this album - it doesn't have much to separate it. A regularly occurring theme.

Com Truise chose the 'special edition' "Encom Part 2" and I quite like it. It's simple enough but again no real hook, it's just a bunch of sounds that make a kinda cool noise strung together. However, I'm not going to go out of my way to listen to it.

Photek's "End of Line" is a bit closer to Daft Punk's except they've made it sound like it's being played on a church organ. They clearly know the main riff is astounding and it drives the whole piece. They haven't done much with it, but then don't need to. It's a decent enough remix - for a B-Side.

The Japanese Popstars decided to use "Arena" and turn it into quite a bland, empty piece until about 3 minutes in, but by that point I've lost interest and the siren doesn't make it more exciting - it's just another layer of sound. The 4:36 mark where that real Arena kick comes in isn't enough to save it. It's a cool song to perhaps run through London high-rises to, but it's not a remix I'd be proud of.

"Derezzed" makes another appearance by Avicii and to be honest, I like what they've done. The main reason is they've done something different and it definitely has a Daft Punk feel to it. It also feels a bit 8-Bit and more uplifting, giving it a different tone completely. It's quite a difference and worth some respect for changing something that was amazing into something that might not necessarily be as good, but at least it's different.

"Solar Sailor" by Pretty Lights, is quite a cool foray into a more modern sound like a lesser Crystal Castles and would be cool for a Nissan advert perhaps. Again, it's enjoyable but the whole time I was thinking "I'd rather just listen to the original".

Is there a last hope in "Tron Legacy (End Titles)" remixed by Sandy Kleinenberg. Yes there is actually. I really enjoyed this version of the track and it's lucky the album has this as quite a strong ending.

Overall, I like the overall tone of the album but it in no way can it touch Daft Punk's original. I understand it's a remix album, but I thought with the wealth of material that was offered, it's a somewhat disappointing result. It's not all bad and if you loved the original, it's definitely worth getting but if it's a toss-up between the two, then unless you're a big dance fan and you like thumping beats and the idea you're almost listening to the same song again and again, then you might think this is better. It might be worth getting it for the small handful of tracks that are on offer but really, it doesn't touch the OST at all. Good effort, some a lot better than others, but don't go thinking this is Daft Punk taking the riffs out of the original album and turning them into some amazing dance tunes via other artists, because it's not. In fact, Daft Punk aren't involved with it at all and don't care - it's in fact Disney bringing this out. The goods are good, not amazing, but it's let down massively by some feeble attempts.

Rating: 5/10

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