The best movie soundtracks featuring electronic music
Grand orchestras and generic pop music may appear to be pervasive presences in movie soundtracks, but they certainly don’t have a monopoly. Electronic music has helped to establish the style and tone of many classic films. Here we take a look at some of the best movie soundtracks featuring dance music.
The cult classic, based on the novel by Irvine Welsh, was directed by Danny Boyle and was also a break-out role for Ewan McGregor. Its heavy focus on the clubbing scene made the soundtrack a key part of the success of the film and its music in particular played a fundamental part. The Underworld track “Born Slippy” is strongly associated with the film, along with Goldie’s “Inner City Life”. Indeed, Underworld’s Karl Hyde has stated that his track has become synonymous with Trainspotting and represents a “Woodstock” moment for electronic music as a whole.
The soundtrack was certainly a huge success and its longevity was highlighted by its re-release as a special edition on vinyl for the film’s twentieth anniversary in 2016. Trainspotting was a gateway to dance music for many and its masterful soundtrack was at its core.
The Matrix series featured a more eclectic mix of music from Marilyn Manson to old jazz standards by Django Reinhardt. Two of its most iconic tracks, however, were produced by artists The Prodigy and Rob Dougan respectively. Dougan’s “Clubbed to Death” track, for example, featured in the famous scene from the original movie in which Morpheus introduces Neo to the system of the matrix itself. Its simple building beats feed into Neo’s sense of his own reality disintegrating before him and helps the film to sell its conceit to the audience.
It was certainly successful as the film remains a cultural touchstone with the franchise spawning a trilogy of films, comic book series as well as providing a rich world-building environment for video games and online slots, which builds upon the film with its use of imagery and soundtrack. The originality and mystery of the Matrix series inflamed the public consciousness and its use of dance music and green computer coding expertly helped to develop its sense of a cultural identity that is used across mediums.
The French duo Daft Punk provided the film score (a first for them) for Tron: Legacy and proved to be an ideal fit. The director Joseph Kosinski had reportedly pursued their services for over a year in order to get them to sign on for the film. His decision appeared to be wise as the reboot of the classic Disney futurist movie was a box-office hit with the soundtrack a significant part of its success. Daft Punk had worked on the soundtrack for two years alongside a 90-piece orchestra and their determination certainly shone through in its critical and commercial success.
A double-disc edition of the soundtrack album alone was released following the film and its tracks were used as part of trailers for games like Resident Evil and even as part of the opening ceremony for the 2014 Winter Olympics. The band is clearly highly-regarded as they are reportedly in talks to produce the soundtrack for the sequel.
Film soundtracks can often serve as a platform for popularizing genres to a wider audience. Films like The Matrix and Trainspotting certainly acted as gateways to this genre for people who may otherwise have never uncovered their passion. Of course, the tracks are still enjoyed by established dance music fans and these films in particular make masterful use of the genre.