Wendy Carlos's TRON Soundtrack Coming As Double 180g Vinyl LP From Audio Fidelity

Marshall Blonstein's Audio Fidelity Records today inked the deal with The Walt Disney Corporation to release Wendy Carlos's groundbreaking original soundtrack to the 1982 Disney feature "TRON".

The original release crammed fifty plus minutes onto a single LP and didn't do justice to the soundtrack, which analogplanet.com editor Michael Fremer (that's me) supervised.

I am now in Los Angeles for the mastering session that will begin tomorrow at Kevin Gray's Cohearent mastering.

With all eyes were on the visuals—the first use in a major motion picture of computer animation—the equally innovative soundtrack never got it's due. It was originally envisioned to be mostly synthesizer with some "sweetening" via small string section overdubs but because of production delays involving the groundbreaking computer animation and backlit film processing, in addition to some other issues that will discussed in the liner notes I will contribute, we were forced to reverse the original plan and produce a soundtrack that was mostly orchestral, with synthesizer overdubs.

The final soundtrack includes the 108 piece London Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Douglas Gamley, recorded at The Royal Albert Hall using a BBC remote crew overseen by the late John Mosley, who devised "Quintaphonic Sound" for the "Tommy" movie soundtrack.

Small string ensembles were recorded during the same UK trip at famed Walthamstow Town Hall, the venue where many famous DECCA classical recordings were produced.

Back in America, the UCLA chorus was recorded at Royce Hall, another famous venue and then Wendy Carlos worked her synthesizer magic during a time before polyphonic synthesizers were available. All of these elements had to be synched together and blended and then synched to the final reels of film. It was a monumental effort that Carlos and her producer Annemarie Franklin managed brilliantly.

The score deserves another listen in the analog domain by another generation and that will happen when this soundtrack is reissued.

It will also include the songs Journey contributed that strangely sound more like The Police than Journey, for good reasons. But you'll have to wait for the liner notes to read all about it!

o0OBillO0o's picture

Excellent dispatch, especially considering the mention that the Journey track is included!

AJMHobby's picture

I can't wait for this!!smiley

timorous's picture

While I never had the original LP, I read a few years back on Wendy Carlos' website (some interesting reading there, by the way), that the 24-track tapes were in such bad shape that she had to research the process of baking the tapes to make them at least playable enough to make decent digital transfers.

Do you have any info on this, Michael?

I've done some tape baking myself, and yes, it does work. I used a food dehydrator, stacking (at most) two tapes on the racks, and set the temp at 135°F, let it run for at least 4 hours (for 1/2" tape reels). 2" tape would probably take the better part of a day or overnight. You also have to let the tapes cool completely before trying to play them.

Michael Fremer's picture

Yes, I'm sure the multitrack required baking. Most tapes from that era, particularly Scotch 206 and Ampex 456 do. 

LeeBender's picture


This is AWESOME news!  As you know, the instrumental track "1990's Theme" by Journey was not originally part of the soundtrack release, while "Only Solutions" (which was played during the end titles after "Anthem" ended), was.  The "1990's Theme" was at the very beginning of the movie, and was used as "ambient music" for the arcade scene while someone was playing "light cycles".  I am hoping that you are confirming that this track will be included.  

I think that "Anthem" is certainly one track that I absolutely MUST have in my collection.  I certainly hope that the source material has held up.  According to Wendy, there was never any sheet music made for this track, so unless you can find someone to re-create this song by ear, there are no other recordings.  As an exercise, I had actually contemplated having an organist here in my town try to re-create it, just so that I could create an all new high quality recording.  Good stuff indeed, and great news!

Michael Fremer's picture

Was part of the soundtrack album and was on Wendy's remastered version, though she shortened it somewhat for some reason. "Anthem" played on The Royal Albert Hall organ is included of course as is the stupendous finale Columbia Records forced us to remove in the film in favor of "Only Solutions". It was restored on the DVD and Blu-ray as an "alternative" ending. The record will be double vinyl and will sound much, much better than the original single album.

Enobenetto's picture


While your in L.A. you need to head over to the Highland Park neighborhood (where I live) there's 4 - 5 vinyl shops that are great, it's a mecca for good stuff. Also, hit up Sunset Blvd. in Echo park : muy bueno.

Just thought you'd like to go broke while you're in L.A.

arniewisconsin's picture

I had no clue this was out. I'll have to pick it up ASAP!

arniewisconsin's picture

Went to the record store and they had a few of these left. Store owner said nobody had been all too interested in them. What a shame!

bellidity's picture

Interesting article. Keep it up! I'll be revisiting the page to keep myself updated! Nice work. Metal Work

bellidity's picture

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Orion_Timber's picture

TRON's soundtrack: where synth meets symphony in a battle for analog supremacy! Can't wait for the vinyl - bringing back the '80s in style. Timber Floor Staining

bellidity's picture

Great review! Brick Retaining Wall

bellidity's picture

The double vinyl will surely make the sound much better! Retaining Wall Concrete

bellidity's picture

Excited! Can't wait. Paving Service

goswami's picture