While the French duo Daft Punk look back to the disco era of the 1970 with their just released album Random Access Memory (2013) – a nostalgic salute to their musical roots – their sound track to the movie Tron: Legacy (2011) accompanies an alternative reality dystopia. In this movie Daft Punk (2010) draw on sounds from electronic dance music to create the soundtrack of the grid, the virtual reality where most of the movie's action takes place.
Discussing their soundtrack in her article «Creating ‹the Ultimate Retro-Future›» Elizabeth Clendinning (2013) shows how the relationship between electronic and orchestral music has changed between the movies Tron (2002) and Tron: Legacy (2011). She argues that both soundtracks (the first composed by Wendy Carlos and the second by Daft Punk) reflect their respective times and that the compositional shift point to an overarching shift in attitudes between humans and technology in the 30 year span between the two movies. The limbo state between two worlds is also central to Brooke McCorkle’s article «Stuff that Dreams are Made of» (2013). Discussing the movie Chungking Express (2008) she shows how the director Wong Kar-wai’s use of diegetic and non-diegetic music comments and reflects on Hong Kong’s status and uncertain future in the 1990s.
In both McCorkle’s and Clendinning’s articles nostalgia is a recurring theme in how the music is selected/composed and incorporated. Benjamin Court’s article «Can’s ‹Mother Sky› in Skolimowsky’s ‹Deep End›» (2013), however, examines utopian theory and the German new left. He argues that even though the German band Can was not an overtly political band it was influenced by the theories of Marcuse and Bloch (which were central to the German student protest of the 1960s). This he demonstrates through his focus on Can’s Mother Sky composed for Jerzy Skolimowsky’s movie Deep End (2011). Nostalgia is also present here – having colored Bloch’s utopian thoughts.
While the previous three articles focus on possible musical futures seen from their creators’ present this volume’s final article «Back to the Future? Two Musical Pasts and Their Futures» written by Sverker Hyltén-Cavallius (2013) discusses what the author terms «retrologies» – focusing on two case studies from the 1990s with different nostalgias for past futures – one linked to the theremin and the other linked to Swedish senior citizens’ music. Drawing on Baudrillard he shows how the two futurist nostalgias become central in building communities where certain aspects of the past are drawn upon and given (new) meaning.
Thus the articles in this volume show different ways of how the future is imagined musically – be it as a form of nostalgia for past futures or a nostalgic use of popular music. At the same time the articles on an analytical level show how music plays a powerful role in everyday life by creating social communities and when accompanying movies – in part through the blurring of the diegetic (being a part of the on-screen action) and non-diegetic (as accompanying music not directly involved with the on-screen action) boundaries.
Finally, I would like to thank all the authors who submitted abstracts as well as the Norient academic online journal editorial team. A special thanks goes to the anonymous peer-reviewers who read the article drafts and gave the authors constructive and important feedback.
Clendinning, Elizabeth. 2013. «Creating ‹the Ultimate Retro-Future›: Music, Nostalgia and Futurity in ‹Tron› (1982) and ‹Tron: Legacy› (2010). Norient Academic Online Journal 2. norient.com/academic/the-ultimate-retro-future-music (URL accessed on 28.06.2013).
Court, Benjamin. 2013. «Can’s ‹Mother Sky› in Skolimowsky’s ‹Deep End› (1970): Psychedelic Echoes of German New Left Negative Utopianism». Norient Academic Online Journal 2. norient.com/academic/skolimowskys-deep-end (URL accessed on 14.07.2013).
Hyltén-Cavallius, Sverker. 2013. «Back to the Future? Two Musical Pasts and Their Futures». Norient Academic Online Journal 2. norient.com/academic/back-to-the-future-two-musical-pasts-and-their-futures (URL accessed on 26.07.2013).
McCorkle, Brooke. 2013. «Stuff that Dreams Are Made Of: Music and the Future in Wong Kar-wai’s ‹Chungking Express› (1994)». Norient Academic Online Journal 2. norient.com/academic/the-future-in-wong-kar-wais-chungking-express-1994 (URL accessed on 09.07.2013).
Daft Punk. 2010. Disney’s Tron Legacy: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack. Walt Disney Records. CD.
Daft Punk. 2013. Random Access Memories. Sony Music. CD.
Chungking Express. 2008. Directed by Wong Kar-wai. 1994; Buena Vista Home Entertainment/The Criterion Collection. Blu-ray.
Deep End. 2011. Directed by Jerzy Skolimowski. 1970; British Film Institute. DVD.
Tron. 2002. Directed by Steven Lisberger. 1982; Walt Disney Home Video. DVD.
Tron: Legacy. 2011. Directed by Joseph Kosinski. 2010; Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment. DVD.