Tron: Legacy Soundtrack Preview Event
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Two Saturdays ago Disney and KCRW hosted an exclusive “TRON: Legacy” soundtrack preview event which featured KCRW Music Director Jason Bentley, who served as Music Supervisor on the film and Director Joseph Kosinski.
Apogee’s Berkeley Street Studio in Santa Monica, CA served as a cozy and intimate venue for the small gathering. The dimly lit studio floor was strewn with Persian Rugs beneath a few rows of chairs. String lights lined a stairway banister toward a loft above, where a vaulted natural wood ceiling with exposed beams curved overhead. The focus of the room was a pair of empty chairs on a small stage, between which a flat screen television was alternately playing “TRON: Legacy” trailers and Daft Punk’s “Derezzed” music video.
Let’s get one thing out in the open right now. I love “TRON.” Seeing the movie in the theater as a child had a huge impact on me. I was enthralled. Okay, so maybe it made me think that computers might try to take over the world and made the prospect of artificial intelligence more than a little scary. On the other hand, “TRON” opened up this incredible world of infinite possibilities. Here was a world where words and strings of code typed into a computer (in my case a Franklin Ace 2000, a less expensive, Integer Basic-running machine compatible with the coveted Apple II that my brother and I failed miserably to talk our parents into purchasing) came out the other side as something astonishing and tangible. A luminous world in which pure energy was a glowing life force for programs in human form, where video games were played for real and for keeps. A world like nothing I had seen before - occasionally cheesy, at times frightening, but always awe-inspiring.
When the possibility of a sequel was announced with Kosinski’s test footage at San Diego’s Comic-Con I was both excited and skeptical. The prospect of the TRON universe with current technology in the right hands was thrilling, but would the storyline be strong enough to match?
Similar mixed emotions came into play when I learned that Daft Punk was doing the music for the whole film. In certain respects they seemed perfect, yet would the entire score be one never-ending dance party? I was finally in a position to find out.
Following a brief but genuinely enthusiastic introduction from Mitchell Leib, President of Music and Soundtracks for Walt Disney Pictures, Kosinski and Bentley took the stage and launched into the kind of fluid, detail-packed discourse only found between people who have shared a lengthy creative journey together.
From the beginning of the discussion it was obvious that music has played a big part in Kosinski’s life as well as his work. He spoke of his grandfather, a jazz and big band musician in the forties, playing at a party on a military base for, among others, the crew of the Enola Gay, on the night before her final mission. Kosinski’s mother, a pianist, had him beginning to tickle the ivories at the age of three. Later he took up the saxophone and began college with the unlikely double major of music and mechanical engineering, eventually leaving with his undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford and a Masters of Architecture from Columbia University.
“TRON: Legacy” (which Kosinski just finished last Wednesday) marks his feature film directorial debut. At first glance it may seem an out of character and, quite frankly, stupid choice for Disney to agree to drop such a heady project into the lap of a first-timer. However, take a look at the facts:
- Kosinski is an accomplished commercial and short film director.
- He has a background in design, giving him the tools to create the amazing, stylistic world which is an absolute necessity for the TRON universe.
- His commercials for the “Gears of War” video games, “Last Day” and the award-winning “Mad World”, showcase an incredible ability to fuse music and visuals while presenting an emotionally engaging storyline in just 60 seconds.
Could this newcomer handle “TRON: Legacy?” The odds were in his favor.
But I digress. This event was mainly about the music, so back to the music we go.