Various Artists: TRON: Legacy Reconfigured

Yet another disposable remix album proving that zero multiplied is still zero.

Various Artists

TRON: Legacy Reconfigured

Contributors: The Glitch Mob, M83, Big Black Delta, The Crystal Method, Teddybears, Ki:Theory, Paul Oakenfold, Moby, Boys Noize, Kaskade, Com Truise, Photek, The Japanese Popstars, Avicii, Pretty Lights, Sander Kleinenberg
Label: Disney
US Release Date: 2011-04-05
UK Release Date: 2011-04-04
Artist website

Do Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo – more widely known as Daft Punk – even care anymore? The duo’s notoriously disappointing Human After All showed a couple of French guys unsure how to top the career-defining Discovery, but their unquestionably disappointing soundtrack for Disney’s TRON reboot showed a couple of French guys who had stopped trying. Cynics might observe that it’s hard to expect new creative directions from anyone so dependent on others peoples’ music (as if nobody else had ever become wildly popular by sampling hooks wholesale). Optimists might rebut that creative stasis doesn’t necessarily precede lifting pages from the Hanz Zimmer/James Newton Howard songbook, writing one dance track that could be a C-side on Homework if C-sides existed, and calling it a day.

Okay okay, this isn’t a review of that soundtrack, but a review of its remix album. So we have a roster of hired hands, ranging from fledgling (Com Truise) to venerable (Paul Oakenfold, Moby), to blame for its content, and the stuffed shirts at Disney – all beneath contempt – to blame for its existence. We can, however, trace its listlessness back to its source, which only the most committed remixing work could possibly vitalize. Suffice to say that such commitment is in short supply on this cash-in release.

The remixes that depart sharply from the originals, and sound more like their creators than like Daft Punk, often sound the best. M83’s take on “Fall” demonstrates this most blatantly. Fellow Frenchman Anthony Gonzalez abandons any pretense of reverence, which is just as well, as the original was about a minute and a half of tuneless potboiler music anyway. Gonzalez’s version is anything but, featuring a solid glo-fi hook sung in the multilayered, childlike vocals distinctive to M83. It’s hardly brilliant – it goes nowhere fast – but it certainly stands out.

The best track belongs to German native Boys Noize, née Alexander Ridha, the closest clubland has to a direct aesthetic descendent of Daft Punk – if only because he makes a denser, more club-friendly version of the fuzzy electro mainstreamed in arenas by Punk protégés Justice. While “End of Line” bears a bit more resemblance to its source material than M83’s “Fall,” it’s still distinctly the artist’s work, which is probably the only reason I like it. Like the M83 remix, it’s hardly brilliant, or even that good, but Boys Noize’s unsubtle pleasure-center overdrive is effectively hard to resist, even at its most disposable.

Elsewhere, the pickings are slim. Zero multiplied is still zero. Most of Reconfigured takes the standard approach to dressing music up for the dance floor: add a 4/4 and a bass-line and voila. Some parts sound like every dollar of a major studio paycheck. Other parts sound embarrassingly slapdash, as when orchestral snippets appear jarringly like nearly-forgotten contractual obligations in the Crystal Method’s contribution. Hardly any of it is compelling music, but do dance floors require compelling music? Do soundtracks? At its most strictly functional, music for both is composed to be dramatic but not distracting, which reads like more of a paradox than it ever actually is. Just as the TRON: Legacy soundtrack was sometimes stirring, then, these remixes are sometimes danceable, but despite what their rote efficacy might trick your ears into believing, that doesn’t make any of them worth a damn.


So far J. J. Abrams and Rian Johnson resemble children at play, remaking the films they fell in love with. As an audience, however, we desire a fuller experience.

As recently as the lackluster episodes I-III of the Star Wars saga, the embossed gold logo followed by scrolling prologue text was cause for excitement. In the approach to the release of any of the then new prequel installments, the Twentieth Century Fox fanfare, followed by the Lucas Film logo, teased one's impulsive excitement at a glimpse into the next installment's narrative. Then sat in the movie theatre on the anticipated day of release, the sight and sound of the Twentieth Century Fox fanfare signalled the end of fevered anticipation. Whatever happened to those times? For some of us, is it a product of youth in which age now denies us the ability to lose ourselves within such adolescent pleasure? There's no answer to this question -- only the realisation that this sensation is missing and it has been since the summer of 2005. Star Wars is now a movie to tick off your to-watch list, no longer a spark in the dreary reality of the everyday. The magic has disappeared… Star Wars is spiritually dead.

Keep reading... Show less

This has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it.

It hardly needs to be said that the last 12 months haven't been everyone's favorite, but it does deserve to be noted that 2017 has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it. Other longtime dreamers either reappeared or kept up their recent hot streaks, and a number of relative newcomers established their place in what has become one of the more robust rock subgenre subcultures out there.

Keep reading... Show less

​'The Ferryman': Ephemeral Ideas, Eternal Tragedies

The current cast of The Ferryman in London's West End. Photo by Johan Persson. (Courtesy of The Corner Shop)

Staggeringly multi-layered, dangerously fast-paced and rich in characterizations, dialogue and context, Jez Butterworth's new hit about a family during the time of Ireland's the Troubles leaves the audience breathless, sweaty and tearful, in a nightmarish, dry-heaving haze.

"Vanishing. It's a powerful word, that"

Northern Ireland, Rural Derry, 1981, nighttime. The local ringleader of the Irish Republican Army gun-toting comrades ambushes a priest and tells him that the body of one Seamus Carney has been recovered. It is said that the man had spent a full ten years rotting in a bog. The IRA gunslinger, Muldoon, orders the priest to arrange for the Carney family not to utter a word of what had happened to the wretched man.

Keep reading... Show less

Aaron Sorkin's real-life twister about Molly Bloom, an Olympic skier turned high-stakes poker wrangler, is scorchingly fun but never takes its heroine as seriously as the men.

Chances are, we will never see a heartwarming Aaron Sorkin movie about somebody with a learning disability or severe handicap they had to overcome. This is for the best. The most caffeinated major American screenwriter, Sorkin only seems to find his voice when inhabiting a frantically energetic persona whose thoughts outrun their ability to verbalize and emote them. The start of his latest movie, Molly's Game, is so resolutely Sorkin-esque that it's almost a self-parody. Only this time, like most of his better work, it's based on a true story.

Keep reading... Show less

There's something characteristically English about the Royal Society, whereby strangers gather under the aegis of some shared interest to read, study, and form friendships and in which they are implicitly agreed to exist insulated and apart from political differences.

There is an amusing detail in The Curious World of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn that is emblematic of the kind of intellectual passions that animated the educated elite of late 17th-century England. We learn that Henry Oldenburg, the first secretary of the Royal Society, had for many years carried on a bitter dispute with Robert Hooke, one of the great polymaths of the era whose name still appears to students of physics and biology. Was the root of their quarrel a personality clash, was it over money or property, over love, ego, values? Something simple and recognizable? The precise source of their conflict was none of the above exactly but is nevertheless revealing of a specific early modern English context: They were in dispute, Margaret Willes writes, "over the development of the balance-spring regulator watch mechanism."

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.