Tron Evolution Original Soundtrack
Tron Evolution Original Soundtrack
I Am 8-Bit (Vinyl); Sonic Mayhem (Digital Edition)
December 15, 2010
Download at Sonic Mayhem
In 2010, Tron: Legacy revived Disney’s series of science-fiction films after a long absence. While popular opinion was divided on the project — some adoring its cool yet retro visuals, others uninspired by its superficial storytelling — most were reunited by their love for the soundtrack, which blended Daft Punk’s electronic stylings with the orchestrations of Joseph Trapanese. As a tie-in with the film, Disney released a multi-platform video game Tron: Evolution to disappointing sales. The score for the game largely maintained the feel of the film score and even reprised a couple of tracks by Daft Punk. Nevertheless, the majority of the music on the title was completely original, created by game industry veterans Sascha Dikiciyan, Cris Velasco, and Kevin Manthei. A seven track sampler of Dikiciyan’s central compositions for the score were released both as a free digital download and a limited edition vinyl.
The opening track of the sampler, “Enter the Grid”, reflects that Sascha Dikiciyan knows exactly how to depict the game’s universe. Following an epic introduction, he recreates the ambience of The Grid using a blend of cutting-edge electronic synthpads and industrial sound effects. The track thereafter undergoes an incredible evolution with the introduction of heavier electronic beats and transient epic orchestration. These sections aren’t for the faint-hearted, though should delight most hard electronica fans out there. Dikiciyan even integrates a few voice samples from Jeff Bridges — mostly in a stylish rather than distracting way — to emphasise the film link.
Another central highlight of the score is “Flynn’s Lament”. The opening electro-orchestral passages reflect the desperation and melancholy portrayed in the game and film. They’re not quite as outwardly emotional as “Adagio for TRON”, but have a subtle impact nevertheless. Perhaps more surprising is the sudden transitions into beat-heavy action-packed segments. Compared to the film score, these sections have a somewhat more raw and industrial feel — appropriate given the nature of the gameplay — but it still feels perfectly fitting in the Tron universe. Dikiciyan even takes the exuberance to incorporate some transient chiptune parts in the mix, emphasising the ‘new meets old’ theme of the title.
As a Tron fanatic, Dikiciyan also integrates plenty of music more reminiscent of Wendy Carlos’ popular score for the original Tron. For example, the expressive synth blends of “Electric Dream” are reminiscent of the film’s 80s-influenced science-fiction sounds. However, the enhanced sampling and subtle additions ensure it doesn’t sound out-of-place either. “The Chaos Complex” takes a similarly nostalgic approach during its calmer sections, before erupting into Dikiciyan’s specialities of epic orchestration and industrial techno in its more intense sections. Indeed, this is no simple looped techno score and each of the seven tracks packs a lot of richness and contrast into their playtimes.
Those looked for straight-up hard electronica will find “Nucleus 2.0” well-suited for them. Once again, the track rivals the likes of Daft Punk’s “Derezzed” with its expert electronic sampling and idiosyncratic rhythmical qualities. An even more intense track is “The Tron Codex”, which blends the fastest, edgiest beats of the entire franchise with all sorts of industrial distortion and aggressive orchestration. It’s quite a departure from Daft Punk, but it still fits The Grid’s gameplay well and is delightfully on a stand-alone level. The final track, “The End of Everything”, packs almost everything into its 2:25 playtime before closing on an unresolved note that leaves listeners desperate for more.
Dikiciyan did an excellent job on Tron: Evolution. Throughout the project, he carefully blended the approaches from the Tron and Tron: Legacy score with his own tendencies towards raw industrial and epic orchestral music. As a result, each of the seven tracks on this 20 minute sampler are entertaining listens that also complement The Grid excellently. Based on the game’s poor sales, it seems unlikely that the soundtrack will receive a full album release it deserves, though it is still worthwhile checking out these tracks on Dikiciyan’s official website.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Chris Greening. Last modified on August 1, 2012.