Everyone’s favorite French robots are back, or so Disney Music would have you believe.
In light of Daft Punk’s recent Tron: Legacy score, the suits at the happiest ancillary merchandise factory on earth have compiled a truly bizarre sandwich of remixes, released yesterday as Tron: Legacy Reconfigured.
Indie artists Pretty Lights, M83 and Boys Noize offer their own interpretations of Tron tracks, and bigger, more trance-associated names like Paul Oakenfold, Kaskade and Sander Kleinenberg round out the record.
Former Daft Punk manager Busy P, also the brain of Ed Banger records, made music headlines well before the album’s release, slamming the project as devoid of any involvement from “the Daft boys” and even suggesting those responsible for it are “apparently buying most of [their] electronic music in airports.”
Monsieur P is right to be angry. Tron: Legacy Reconfigured is an interminably choppy train wreck of borrowed taste and monetary aspirations.
There are two gems on the album. The best sound to be found here is Paul Oakenfold’s club remix of “C.L.U.”
The once murky antagonist theme receives intravenous steroidal therapy of fat beats, torturous buildups and fuzzy, modulated synths worthy of a Bloody Beetroots track.
Teddybears’ interpretation of the instantly forgettable “Adagio for Tron” is another surprise, wrapping tinny, glittering analog patches around the track’s conventionally mournful strings until they resemble the bleats of an arcade droid.
The remix is not a transformation as much as a sharpening of what remains one of the original soundtrack’s least compelling numbers.
Still, Tron: Legacy Reconfigured was an ill-advised undertaking, and that is painfully audible in the album’s other remixes.
The meticulous craft of the stronger Daft Punk tracks is battered and bruised by rough hands.
The Crystal Method eviscerates the mystery of “The Grid,” with abundant pitch bends and arpeggiated pads.
The Japanese Popstars reduce the majesty of “Arena” to a Casio-toned club filler. Even M83, which has rendered songs like Bloc Party’s “The Pioneers” epic and doom-filled, turns “Fall” into an ugly mash-up of sampled cries, piano chords and shoegaze feedback.
The Tron: Legacy soundtrack was far from the seat-thumping dance party many hoped for, though it had its moments of digital house-soaked bliss.
The rest of the compilation alternates between monotony and monstrosity, but even at its occasional peaks Tron: Legacy Reconfigured is nothing but a shamefully baldfaced attempt by Disney executives to capitalize on the latest dubstep and hard house trends.
The baffling selection of remix artists is an obvious clue, as is the revealing lack of involvement from Daft Punk themselves.
That co-members Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo were presumably not invited or allowed to share their input on the remix album’s conception speaks to the dark nature of an entertainment giant like Disney.
It also suggests agreeing to score a Disney blockbuster at all might have been the worst artistic decision of Daft Punk’s career.
Unfortunately, the two do not seem to have considered this. They are currently preparing to release their own edition of the popular drink Coca Cola in France.
It’s sad to think the same men who made electronic music popular in both the FM radio and indie world, and captured the adoration of nearly every artist in the genre, have allowed their craft to be exploited and hotly privatized. (Good luck finding free streams of any of the remixes online.)
Should the duo ever decide to tour again, which would be a wise move at this point, I’d imagine we can look forward to enjoying a Daft Coke while we wait for the lasers to warm up.