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The Matrix Reloaded by Don Davis

Return of the Matrix - Tracksounds Special Feature

The Matrix Reloaded

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The Matrix Reloaded (Soundtrack) by Don Davis

The Matrix Reloaded
Composed by Don Davis
Maverick Records (2003)

Rating: 7/10

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“...before you think you've gotten this release figured out, be assured you probably don't. Yes, one will find a number of familiar motifs and themes from the original Matrix score, but The Matrix Reloaded takes on a few twists of its own.”

Kinetic Coolness
Review by Christopher Coleman

Music composed by Don Davis, Ben Watkins (Juno Reactor), Rob Dougan
Conducted by Don Davis
Orchestrations Erik Lundborg, Conrad Pope
Music Supervisor: Jason Bentley
Produced by Guy Oseary

Few knew of the media storm that was brewing within the mind of the directing Wachowski Brothers. Two sequels, nine anime shorts (THE ANIMATRIX), and two video games, (ENTER THE MATRIX, THE MATRIX ONLINE), and God knows what else, would come barreling out the tandem's minds. These ongoing revelations of things to come in the Matrix franchise (in the form of innocuous press releases) got fans of both electronica and composer Don Davis, salivating.

Instead of the two separate soundtrack releases that earmarked THE MATRIX, Warner/Maverick Records elected to combine the two into one two-disc release. Why a double disc release this time? This double release simply kills two agents with one shot and the label is surely hoping that such a release will combine the electronica and film music consumer groups into one cash-cow. Disc one plays the role of the Maverick's original soundtrack release of THE MATRIX, while disc 2, more or less, functions as Varese Sarabande's original score release did (a release which remains in the Top 20 All Time Best Sellers for the label). Disc 1 features a compilation of electronica and metal tracks, a good portion of which are relegated to the end credits...and thankfully so. Now, Rob Dougan's Furious Angels (disc 1 - track 4) is an acceptional track but actually would suits disc 2 better. The rest of disc 1 is not nearly as engaging as the 1999 compilation soundtrack from THE MATRIX and not the focus of this review. Still, you will find the tracks from disc 1 fully rated below.

THE MATRIX RELOADED hardly rests on the laurels of its predecessor and that goes for the music as well. Visually, the movie sets new standards of computer graphic effects, and this time, musically, the Wachowski's wanted to synthesize the orchestral work of Don Davis with the "kinetic-coolness" that can be found in the genre of electronica. After listening to, a disappointing solo attempt by Don Davis at just such a synthesis, namely the original score for BALLISTIC: ECKS VS. SEVER, I believe the Brothers Wachowski, Jason Bentley et al, made a wise choice in selecting both Rob Dougan and Juno Reactor to provide the synthesized-side of this fusion.

The tracks that solely feature the orchestral work of composer Don Davis capture the essence of his contribution to the film nicely. Again Davis heavily relies upon brass instrumentation and pounding percussive accents to provide the signature environment. The opening two tracks, which together mirror Trinity Infinity (track 1 from THE MATRIX score album), re-introduces the established style from the first movie with a handful of familiar motifs. Among those is the reflecting-brass motif, which permeates THE MATRIX RELOADED. The bulk of pure Don Davis' work is contained in The Matrix Reloaded Suite (track 7) . The over-17-minute suite contains excerpts from throughout the film and are neatly arranged into a smooth, yet diverse, listening experience. The suite includes: the militaristic segment of the Nebuchadnezzar's landing at Zion (a musical style not found in the original Matrix film), the reverent choral-underscoring of "Neo's Zion Following", the mysterious (but let's face it, enviable) "Persephone's Kiss," the triumphant "Morpheus' Prayer" (which recalls the "revelation" motif from the climax of original film) and finally the finale "Rescue and Resurrection," which also introduces yet another new theme - a victorious love theme that wouldn't surprise me if it showed up in the THE MATRIX REVOLUTIONS once or twice. Of course, there remains a goodly amount of Davis' score which is not represented on this release, but what music is included will provide a satisfactory experience for most. For now, hard-core collectors will have to hope and pray for a more complete release down the road.

Moving along track 3, Teahouse, things changes gears, as the listener gets their first taste of Juno Reactor's considerable contribution sound of THE MATRIX RELOADED. This brief Kung-Fu-confrontation with a Jet-Li-like-security program, is underscored almost solely by percussion. A tip of the hat to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon? Possibly, as Michelle Yeoh was briefly considered to play the part of the Fu-firewall and fight choreographer Wu Ping worked on both films. Chateau (track 4) slams into high gear as Rob Dougan's high-octane electronic composition functions as and feels similar to the Propellerhead's Spy Break from the first film. Track 5 is one of the best pieces from either THE MATRIX RELOADED or THE MATRIX. Mona Lisa Overdrive (track 5) is a scintillating collaboration between composer Don Davis and Juno Reactor. This sometimes-methodical, sometimes-hypnotic, piece shifts gear after gear as the heros and villians clash in a non-stop car chase - the likes of which filmgoers have never seen...or heard before! We can only hope that THE MATRIX REVOLUTIONS will offer another sampling of this sort of collaborative effort. Finally, track 6, the famed Burley Brawl, is yet another teaming of Davis and Juno Reactor. Punchy, acoustic drums (or at least sampled drums?), bold and brash brass, and the choral accents and occasional solos combine to underscore what many consider to be the centerpiece sequence of the film. This mind-blowing, incalculable sequence reaches such stature in no small part to the frenetic pace the music reaches.

We are now deep into the musical rabbit-hole with composer Don Davis as our guide. Clearly, Davis' post-modern compositional thread continues into part 2 of the Matrix trilogy but before you think you've gotten this release figured out, be assured you probably don't. Yes, one will find a number of familiar motifs and themes from the original Matrix score, but The Matrix Reloaded takes on a few twists of its own. Once again the Wachowski Brothers have upped the anty: storyline, visually, and with the considerable help of composer Don Davis, Juno Reactor, Rob Dougan, Jason Bentley, it also does musically.

Rating: 7/10


"Overall, the score for The Matrix Reloaded is less frightening, less dissonant, and less disjointed (than The Matrix). It hits most of its major beats in stride, and the weaker portions are forgiven because of their brevity." ****

Christian Clemmenson - Filmtracks Reviews
The Matrix Reloaded

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Track Title Track Time Rating
  Disc 1    
1 Session by Linkin Park 2:23  ***
2 This is the New S*** by Marilyn Manson 4:20  *
3 Reload by Rob Zombie 4:25  **
4 Furious Angels by Rob Dougan 5:29  ****
5 Lucky You by Deftones 4:08  *
6 The Passportal by Team Sleep 2:35  **
7 Sleeping Awake by P.O.D. 3:23  ***
8 Bruises by Ünloco 2:36  **
9 Calm like a Bomb by Rage Against the Machine 4:58  ***
10 Dread Rock by Oakenfold 4:40  **
11 Zion by Fluke 4:33  **
12 When the World Ends (Oakenfold Remix) by Dave Matthews Band 5:26  **

Total Running Time

  Disc 2    
1 Main Title by Don Davis 1:30  ***
2 Trinity Dream by Don Davis 1:56  ***
3 Teahouse by Juno Reactor featuring Gocoo 1:04  ***
4 Chateau by Rob Dougan 3:23  ****
5 Mona Lisa Overdrive by Juno Reactor and Don Davis 10:08  *****
6 Burly Brawl by Juno Reactor VS Don Davis 5:52  ****
7 Matrix Reloaded Suite by Don Davis 17:34  ****

Total Running Time





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