Welcome to The Grid, a digital utopia filled with infinite possibilities. A digital world designed for games, but it became so much more. However, due to his thirst for power, Clu, a powerful program based off of the creator, betrayed his creator and all other programs in this utopia. The only program who had the power to stop Clu, named Tron, was defeated by Clu and left for dead. With no one to stop him, Clu seized control of The Grid and has become a malevolent dictator. However, one program, named Beck, has the ability to surpass his own programming and take over the role of Tron, to try and overthrow Clu’s Empire.
The TRON: Uprising soundtrack is scored by Mr. Joseph Trapanese, who also arranged the music of Daft Punk for TRON: Legacy. To portray the digital and somewhat foreign atmosphere of The Grid, Trapanese uses extremely interesting digital and electronic sounds along side an orchestral sound. His mix of the acoustic orchestral instruments and the electronic sounds makes an extremely interesting sound that sounds like a foreign electro-orchestral type instrument, which is extremely successful in portraying the digital word of Tron. After the jump, we load deeper into the TRON: Uprising soundtrack.
In the soundtrack, Trapanese uses many different themes to portray the main characters. The theme of Tron and Beck, who are lumped into one theme (you’ll have to watch the series to find out why) is a triumphant fanfare with a very dark brass sound, accompanied by a synthesizer, which creates an extremely unique sound. The theme itself is almost a take on an old Roman fanfare by using large skips up and down pitch-wise. That theme is played in the show any time Tron gains the upper hand in a battle, or any time Tron shows up, which creates that feeling of excitement and represents Tron’s triumphant victories.
Through every track in this soundtrack, the composer throws in Tron’s theme, which organically plays along with whatever theme is relevant in the track. For example, in the 2nd track of the soundtrack, named “Tesler’s Throwdown”, Tesler, who is an antagonist, his theme is played and developed in a very dark and foreboding manner, which intensifies and becomes more and more exciting as it develops, and eventually it just erupts into a gigantic explosion followed by complete silence, and I’m talking around 3 or 4 seconds of silence, followed by Tron’s Triumphant theme stronger than ever before, symbolizing Tron’s victory, however, Tron’s theme is repeated in a more solemn manner to symbolize some of the other significant effects caused by Tesler, and their aftermath.
Trapanese does an extremely good job of setting a mood within this soundtrack. The track “Tron’s Promise,” for example, is a perfect example of how the composer can evoke many moods which are relevant to the situations going on in the show. He portrays an extremely complex and solemn situation with an electronic sound outlining the chords (in the music world this is known as arpeggiating) which are minor (they sound sad) while layering bits and pieces of Tron’s theme above and below it, followed by a beautiful string chorale that still expresses some heavy emotions, immediately proceeded by a driving beat and distorted guitar riff hinting at parts of Tron’s theme, which is followed by the entirety of Tron’s Theme, followed by Tron’s theme yet again, however, this time it almost sounds like a call to war with a snare drum beating in the background lightly, which suddenly swirls out of control and begins to intensify and intensify until it suddenly ends with mysterious dissonant chords that seem to foreshadow some awful events to come.
Joseph Trapanese’s mastery of thematic music, which portrays all of the main characters and situations in the show, really helps take the actual series from fun-to-watch to a new level by getting us emotionally involved since we can relate to most of these characters musically. Because of the way his themes develop, we get to know these characters so much more as we see them develop through all of the adversities they face. Trapanese’s orchestration with both the orchestra and electronic sounds are extremely easy to listen to, and create sounds I didn’t think were possible. He seamlessly integrates the electronic sounds to alter the sounds of many of the orchestral instruments, as well as help transport us into The Grid with his interplay of human and non-human sounds. I strongly believe that this show and this soundtrack are well worth a look/listen, so go check this out!
Unfortunately, TRON: Uprising has been cancelled. However, it is still available throughout the internet with a simple search, you can find the entirety of the series. Go show this show the love it deserves, and who knows – If there’s enough interest on it, who’s to say it won’t return? You can purchase the TRON: Uprising soundtrack from Amazon or directly download from iTunes.
Growing up a tech geek and movie buff, it’s always disheartening to see works of art like TRON: Uprising be cancelled. In this particular case, it seems that the show was off to an extremely impressive start of 1 million views per episode. However, due to the struggling Disney XD channel, the company moved the show from the normal Disney channel to Disney XD, along with Marvels Spider-Man and Avengers to help boost channel ratings. Due to the premium nature of Disney XD which costs more to have on your cable, all the mentioned shows have suffered and consequently been cancelled. TRON: Uprising in particular was down to 300,000 viewers per episode. You can read more on that from One Page News. Show business however continues to be a strange beast as we’ve seen dead shows come back to life and TRON: Uprising could be no different, seeing how the 3rd TRON moving is in production as slated for release in late 2014, or mid 2015. Till then, if you’ve enjoyed the TRON world like I have, I encourage you to support the shows by purchasing the movies and soundtracks to not only show the studios that there is a real support behind the grid, but to also support the amazing artists behind the series.
What is your opinion on Electronic sounds in soundtracks, and why?