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Friday, September 07, 2012

Don Davis -- The Matrix: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

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8/10

'The Matrix' is a landmark film. In the thirteen years since it was released, and despite two less-than well-received (Were those dashes needed, and if so, were they in the right place? Do dashes even bow to rules? Also, I actually enjoyed the second Matrix film and am still on the fence with the third, for whatever it's worth. This was a long parenthetical. Let's just start that sentence again.). In the thirteen years since 'The Matrix' was released, it hasn't really lost any of its luster. Though it drew from many wells of past creativity, it led the way in popularizing the blending of action, technology, and big ideas in American cinema. Its special effects have been knocked off, it's Eastern leanings have been knocked off, and it's technological ideas have been knocked off countless times since. Even though it cribbed entire shots from films like 'Ghost in the Shell,' it did so in ways that not only showed respect for that classic material, but pushed the envelope further. Anyway, this is supposed to be about the soundtrack.
Don Davis' score is pretty inseparable from the film. He created some easily identifiable themes: the theme of the Matrix itself, the diving into the Matrix theme, the "wow, somebody just did something really cool" theme, the fight/an Agent is giving someone a beatdown theme, and Neo's victorious theme. The music runs the gamut from huge soaring orchestra and percussion, to huge soaring Stravinsky-esque chaos, to Philip Glass- style piano runs.
Many of these elements can be found on the first track, "Main Title/Trinity Infinity."

You may notice that the soundtrack is only 29-minutes long, and seems to only cover the most major scenes Davis scored. It may be helpful to note that the Rites of Spring is only 35-minutes long. Too much of this kind of thing might be overbearing. As it stands, The Matrix Original Soundtrack is a perfect half-hour punch of nostalgia, one that quickly brings up most of the good feelings of the film in the time it takes to watch a sitcom.

NOTE: 'The Matrix' features soundtracking by additional artists for some of its most iconic scenes, such as the Propellerheads-backed lobby shootout. That music can be found on this separate soundtrack.

1999 Varèse Sarabande
1. Main Title/Trinity Infinity 3:54
2. Unable to Speak 1:15
3. The Power Plant 2:41
4. Welcome to the Real World 2:28
5. The Hotel Ambush 5:23
6. Exit Mr. Hat 1:23
7. A Virus 1:33
8. Bullet-Time 1:10
9. Ontological Shock 3:32
10. Anything Is Possible 6:48

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