Monday, December 20, 2010

E82 - Holidays Around the World

During this Glorious Time of Year, Epcot puts its best foot forward with Epcot - Holidays Around the World. While the Magic Kingdom shall always be home to over-the-top secular celebrations of the season, Epcot has a much greater mission to fulfill. During these special 35 (or so) Days at the end of the year Epcot reaches its full potential by proudly celebrating the “reason for the season.” But more than that, Epcot’s “Circle of Nations” truly does the miraculous by bring together many people of many faiths in an air of acceptance, inclusiveness and cooperation. It is also during this time that Epcot’s Ultimate Vision of instilling “a new sense of belief and pride in man's ability to shape a world that offers hope to people everywhere in the world” comes to fruition. In spite of all the EPCOT City could have given us, it would still just be a city. EPCOT’s ultimate realization as park is able to do what no city could ever hope to accomplish – providing millions of people with an example of a unified world.
As both a Thank You for your support during this first year of E82 and in Celebration of the Season, I present one of my most beloved and popular compilations; the simply titled “Epcot - Holidays Around the World Album.”
Representing the best of live entertainment since the program’s creation in 1994, this holiday compilation features a sampling of works by Cast in Bronze, and The Voices of Liberty, with highlights from the Candlelight Processional, a special tribute to the Lights of Winter, and finally culminating with Peace on Earth from Holiday IllumiNations.

-The Program-
1. Messiah Majesty
2. Carol of the Bells
3. God Rest ye Merry Gentlemen
4. We Three Kings
5. O Little Town of Bethlehem
6. It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year
7. C.H.R.I.S.T.M.A.S.
8. Gesu Bambino
9. Winter Wonderland
10. Mary’s Boy Child
11. Candlelight Overture
12. Shout for Joy!
13. Il est NĂ©
14. Rejoice with Exceeding Great Joy
15. Stille Nacht
16. The Wonderful World of Christmas
17. It Came Upon A Midnight Clear
18. Lights of Winter Medley – A JLH Tribute
19. (Let there be) Peace on Earth (featuring Walter Cronkite)

Download the Album

16x9 - Epcot Holidays

Wide Screen

4x3 - Epcot Holidays

Full Screen

Friday, December 10, 2010

Symphony for Programs

E82’s TRON: Legacy Soundtrack Review
Earlier this year, as the excitement and anticipation was building toward TRON: Legacy’s release, a question was posed: Will “TRON: Legacy” be the “2001” for this generation?
While not having seen the film, it’s quite easy to see the comparison in many moments of the score. Additionally, the Daft Punk Soundtrack references several Sci-fi Scores and Classical music pieces. It’s almost unbelievable that two electronic artists could have developed such an amazing amount of scope a depth in such a singular work.

In preparation for the film I, like many TRONophiles, began listening to a lot of Daft Punk. To be completely honest, there‘s only a few songs that I love listening too. (Mostly from the Discovery album) It should also come as no surprise that they are the ones that were most influenced by the original TRON film. The group’s Aerodynamic, Digital Love, Voyager, and Veridis Quo (Which translated literally means “Very Disco”) are very much from the TRON Universe. In the case of Digital Love, the song is bookended by an effect that sounds as if it was taken directly from Wendy Carlos’ original TRON score.
The thing that is the most impressive about Daft Punk is their ability to take noise (or industrial grind) and create new and interesting musical compositions. In listening to their music my reactions often remind me of the reactions of audiences to Stravinsky’s music a century ago. In both cases, the music is at first strange and seemingly “incorrect.” However, upon second and third exposure the startling nature of songs like Aerodynamic are revealed to be both edgy and beautiful.

Soundscape of “The Grid”

As difficult as it is to describe the power, heart, and emotion that this score possesses, I will nevertheless attempt to do my best to describe my impressions of TRON: Legacy as a strictly musical work. Every track of this seminal work is worth review, but in the interest of time I’ll be focusing on those of historical reference or classical interest…

--Overture – Adagio for Tron--
I must say, (having not seen the film) I sincerely hope that the Overture is also accurately represented in the film itself. This film is so epic both in reach and in tone that allowing one to be enveloped into the “World of TRON” sonically before the film would be an extremely effective and nostalgic device.
This particular piece is has a lot of reference 2001’s “Overture: Atmospheres” and has similar strains with the initial build-up to “Also Sprach Zarathustra.” The piece ends with an exclusively orchestral version of the TRON Main Theme. Another strong comparison can be made between the "Gayaneh Ballet Suite" and the beautifully melancholy strains of “Adagio for Tron.” The sadness of this track is so descriptive that even without seeing the film it basically gives the story away.

--Arena - Rinzler - The Game has Changed - Round One - Disc Wars--
A deadly undercurrent of progressive beats and low tempos which inspires both excitement and fear, all of these tracks carry a similarly dark a foreboding tone. Ironically, (and impressively) these action pieces seem to have no “Mickey-Mousing.” Warning: Although fun, these tracks can cause a small amount of recklessness if listened to while driving!

--Recognizer - Arrival – The Grid--
Once a bright environment for programs to interact, CLU has turned turn the TRON System into an almost post-apocalyptic dystopia with massive totalitarian overtones. This aspect of Legacy’s storyline practically screams for Vangelis-style interpretation. In the case of Recognizer the visuals for this scene are almost identical to those found in the Ridley Scott film. Arrival itself sounds as if it was lifted from the Vangelis score itself.

--The Son of Flynn– Armory - Nocturne - Solar Sailer - Sea of Simulation--
There is so much that is visual about this soundtrack, these tracks are appropriately electronic and somber. A particular fan favorite, Solar Sailer, is one the most beautiful and majestic tracks on the album. It’s really the emotional core of TRON Legacy. This should come as no surprise as this was one of the first two demo tracks Daft Punk composed for the film over two years ago. Director, Joe Kosinski said in an interview that the original version of Solar Sailer was changed during production but later reverted to an arrangement closer to the initial version.

--Fall – Rectifier – C.L.U.- Encom Parts I & II – Reflections –-
All of these tracks feature CLU’s theme. Epic is such a small word for this. In particular, C.L.U. is truly the hidden gem of this score. It has trace elements found in the best of Wagner’s Sagas with influences that range from Kismet to Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture. (All of which, are a couple centuries removed!) It’s powerful and percussive beats in combination with scope-expanding strings and finally the crescendo inducing Industrial Grind that is Daft Punk! The electronic elements of this piece always manage to sneak-up and surprise me. The piece is actually my favorite from the score!

--End of Line – Derezzed - TRON Legacy(End Titles) – Castor--
These are classic Daft Punk! With most of these tracks occurring within the End of Line club, they are catchy and bound to have you hitting repeat after most of them. Personally I can’t wait for our French Robots to release TRON’s “Club” Album!

--Outlands Parts I & II, Father and Son, Finale--
The dynamic between Kelvin, CLU, and Sam reminds me of nothing less than the classic story of God, Lucifer and Jesus. Kelvin creates CLU in his own image and endows him with incredible power and abilities. CLU (like the MCP before him), believes himself to be better than his creator and becomes the ruler of the air. Sam, the actual son of God (no wait, I mean Flynn) comes to the digital world to restore sovereignty and overtake the distorted and arrogant CLU. This is probably a little more than you’d expect soundtrack review to be but I always go deeper. And, to be quite honest this kind of allegory is expected considering the writers, Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz have spent the last several years “re-interpreting the Bible” and setting it on a tropical “Island.”
These themes are what sets TRON Legacy apart from its predecessor. Steven Lisberger’s original film introduced the world (although unknowingly) to the concepts that would eventually change the life of almost every person on this planet. These themes and the film that they’re created for give those concepts meaning and perspective in our ever changing world.

Geospheric Perspectives
It’s only fitting (and appropriate) that TRON and EPCOT should be linked together. TRON Legacy is no exception. If you read the credits you’ll find that Bruce Broughton provided consultation and none other than “Reflections of Earth” composer Gavin Greenaway conducted the orchestra!
On a personal note, the entire musical journey of TRON Legacy was a very emotional one for me. Not since the Millennium Celebration Album have I been so completely obsessed with a musical work. And, not since EPCOT Center’s original 1982 Entrance Plaza have I heard such a perfect marriage of the electronic and classical. As a person who always has one foot firmly planted in the past and the other stretching far into the future, this music seems almost tailor-made for my DNA, and specifically timed to provoke the maximum emotional effect.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Blog has Changed

As you’ve already noticed ENCOM has replaced my logo of E82 with one that looks remarkably like their own. As part of change, ENCOM has asked me to give more attention for the companies that made EPCOT Center possible in the first place. One of the first of these is a commissioned desktop that displays all major sponsors of the original EPCOT Center. Inspired by “Bokeh” style photography, this image takes the technique a step further by both sharpening and defusing the logos simultaneously in the same image. In addition, this will be just the first step for an upcoming series of articles profile various companies and their relationship and influence on Epcot and ultimately the Walt Disney Company itself.

16x9 - Sponsors of Tomorrow

Wide Screen

4x3 - Sponsors of Tomorrow

Full Screen

Editor's Note: I seriously don’t know how much more control I can give to this “game company.” I think it might be time to change things from "Inside the System". – Stay Tuned for further developments

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Music of "The Grid"

When George Lucas released Star Wars - Episode I: The Phantom Menace in 1997, hardcore fans and media networks quickly exclaimed that a 30-year-wait was at last over. This kind of overstatement not only borders on the absurd, but also renders the speaker completely inept. However, the story of TRON: Legacy’s journey to the screen is indeed one of the longest and mostly widely publicized in the history of motion pictures.
In 2002, Walt Disney Home Entertainment decided to lavishly celebrate the 20th anniversary TRON’s release with a Two-Disc Collector’s Edition of the film. At the beginning of this DVD was an advertisement for a new TRON game then titled “TRON Killer App.” In addition, the feature-length documentary about the film ended with concept art and discussion about the possibilities of a “new TRON for the 21st century.” With a next generation video game already in development, it appeared that the world was finally ready for the vision that Steven Lisberger put forth in a film that was literally decades before its time.
The release of Monolith Games “TRON 2.0” expanded the TRON Universe by extrapolating the ENCOM System into present day by following the journey of “Jet” Son of Alan Bradley and Lora Baines into the Computer. Stylistically and Musically, TRON 2.0 is a very close adaption of the world created for the original film. Many concepts from the film are perfected and brought forward. There are some truly beautiful environments, as well as some very well written music most of which was directly inspired by Wendy Carlos’ highly experimental score.
With less than a week before the official release of Daft Punk’s incredible score for TRON: Legacy, I thought that E82 should take some time to reflect on the evolution of TRON’s musical landscape. When the game came out, it had NO official score release, it had NO promotional Disc, in fact very little was talked about or even discussed in regards to this truly beautiful electronic work.
And Now E82 is Proud to Present
Here is the FIRST and ONLY Full Soundtrack of TRON 2.0

Tron 2.0 - Cover

Re-Making the Score
After years of collecting music the “doesn’t technically exist,” NO was not a word I would accept in relation to this new work from the World of TRON! Not long after giving-up my search, I decided to make the soundtrack myself! I began unpacking the game’s “.rez files” and quickly discovered that reassembling the score would be no easy feat. Each theme had to be remixed piece-by-piece from 8 second long “riff tracks.” Literally hundreds of cuts! Then came the truly hard part assembly and editing.
Most Film Soundtracks if taken cue-by-cue are largely unlistenable. As a result, producers will often combine pieces to form larger compositions resulting in a structure that is pleasing to the ear. After playing the game several times and taking notes of all levels, scenes and plot-points, I began building the soundtrack to resemble that of a traditional soundtrack. Finally, artwork created for the game was adapted and modified to create a believable approximation of an Official Soundtrack. What you’ll hear are the results…

Tron 2.0 - Inside

Download The Soundtrack

WARNING: This album WILL leave you wanting a lot more!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Very Special Announcement

Stay Tuned for
from JLH Ominmedia

Only at E82 - The Epcot Legacy!


You've Never Heard It like this Before!