Daft Punk – Tron Legacy Reconfigured
Wed 27th Apr, 2011 Music Reviews 4648 viewsin
Back in 2003 Daft Punk released the Daft Club remix album, a collection of reworkings from their then-recent Discovery LP as done by bedfellows strange and otherwise such as The Neptunes, Laidback Luke, Cosmo Vitelli and Basement Jaxx. While Discovery was something of an instant classic upon release, such a crippling disadvantage going into a remix project like Daft Club still can’t excuse the parade of horrors beneath the plastic packaging of that release, with remix after remix just getting it wrong. Such is the trouble with remix albums, after all.
Now we arrive at Tron Legacy Reconfigured, the latest collection of Daft Punk remixes this time cribbed from the duo’s fantastic score for 2010’s Tron Legacy feature film. While that soundtrack is not yet the sacred text that Discovery was/is, to pick it apart and remix its individual tracks is perhaps an even more difficult task considering that the French robots behind the score went in a startlingly different route than was expected of them, bringing strings and orchestral arrangements into focus while dialling down their trademark electronics. I loved it upon release and still believe it was an impressive step up for Daft Punk. Of course, I can’t speak for everyone and likely the prospect of a more dancefloor friendly version of Daft Punk’s soundtrack is an appealing one for fans and industry executives alike, thus giving us Reconfigured.
Even more so than on Daft Club the talent assembled to remix Daft Punk for Reconfigured is a veritable embarrassment of riches, with artists from all corners of the dance community coming out to join the party; from veterans of the game like Moby and Paul Oakenfold to of-the-moment eye catchers like Pretty Lights and the straight-out curveball choices like Tame Impala – this doesn’t even take into account acts like Alex Metric, Goose and Deadmau5 that missed their deadlines or had their mixes rejected.
With such a varied lineup on board to contribute reconfigurations of the robots’ work any ideas of coherence are quickly dispatched with the first three selections alone moving from cut-up fuzz-step (submitted aptly by Glitch Mob) to high-drama electronica on M83’s version The Fall with Big Black Delta to The Crystal Method’s classically throbbing take on The Grid. As strange as such a string of artists may seem, the opening trio of remixes work surprisingly well, with each artist prodding the source material into interesting new forms while retaining the original feel of Daft Punk’s soundtrack – The Grid turns Jeff Bridges’ in-film narrative into a very cool club stomper for instance.
A few further matches hold up well too, with Boys Noize for instance showing his reverence to the robots while adding his always thoughtful thump and buzzing production touches to End Of Line, and chill-wave pinup Com Truise throws down some rainbow colouring with his slow-motion mix of Encom Part 2, a track from the deluxe edition of Daft Punk’s original soundtrack.
It’s there that positive pairings of the Tron Legacy score and outsider artists end unfortunately with tune after tune stumbling to get over the divide between Daft Punk and the remixing artist. American producer Ki:Theory adds some needless rock grunt to Son Of Flynn, Oakenfold carries C.L.U. on a excursion into noxious trance territory, and Japanese Popstars spend six minutes on Arena without anything to show for it.
This is kind of the problem with Reconfigured: it just feels unnecessary. Avicii’s talents are wasted late in the game when his remix of Derezzed sounds like a sprightly original he should’ve just saved for himself, while Moby’s version of Son Of Flynn is just a slight retouching of the original. And what’s worse is that when it’s not stuck needlessly revising Daft Punk’s still-warm material, Reconfigured can be just plain bad like on Kaskade’s fist-pumping take on Rinzler or the new version of Adagio For Tron, incongruously remixed by Swedish odd-bods Teddybears.
Reconfigured was always going to be a bitter pill to swallow, for both fans of the original Tron Legacy soundtrack and the artists on here battling up-hill to make something worthwhile. Reconfigured is not without its charms, there’s probably even more bright spots than you’d think actually, but all the same it’s a scattered and often ugly clone of Daft Punk’s original masterstroke.
Tron Legacy Reconfigured is out now through Disney/Universal.