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The Matrix Revolutions by Don Davis

Return of the Matrix - Tracksounds Special Feature

The Matrix Revolutions

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The Matrix Revolutions (Soundtrack) by Don Davis

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

Rating: 8/10

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“In the end, the overall tone of The Matrix Revolutions is much more serious than its predecessors. Revolutions gives Don Davis plenty of opportunity to let the orchestra rip and, for the first time, the respective soundtrack release is dominated by his music.”

Review by Christopher Coleman

Orchestrated by Don Davis, Erik Lundborg, Conrad Pope
Performed by Hollywood Film Chorale, Zachary Biggs (Boy soprano soloist)

There is a small fraternity of films that have, throughout the years, given Hollywood a much-needed-turn on its ear. In 1999, the Wachowski Brother's thought-provoking and highly entertaining film, The Matrix, became a part of this select group. As most recall, the film's visuals and engaging storyline garnered both critical and popular accolades. Don Davis' well-crafted score quietly took a backseat to all of the bullet-time hubbub and received only modest attention within the film music community. Over the next four years The Matrix franchise would build up a large fan-base placing equally large expectations on the sequels. The level of hype for the two sequels can be summed up with Newsweek's proclamation of the year 2003 being "The Year of the Matrix."

In part 2, The Matrix Reloaded, the musical focus began to move away from the use of electronica source music as underscore for key film sequences and move to collaborative efforts between Don Davis and Juno Reactor. While Davis remained faithful to the key orchestral elements and motifs from the The Matrix, his collaboration with Juno Reactor introduced a hybrid, "technorchestral" personality to the score. While the audience were left hanging at the conclusion of Reloaded, many a film music fan, left satisfied with the new territory being explored by Davis and Juno Reactor, and were expectantly positioned for trilogy's big finish.

After a short six-month wait, the trilogy culminates with The Matrix Revolutions, where composer Don Davis is given the lion's share of the musical load. By the time we reach the third film, the Wachowski's have brought us to a place where the amount of screen time spent in the virtual reality of the Matrix is at a minimum. Thus the opportunities for hip, electronica source music, used to musically define the Matrix and the superhero-like abilities it affords the central characters, have disappeared. In their place we hear the collaborative efforts of Don Davis and Juno Reactor again, but moreover we have composer Don Davis' powerful solo compositions. That said, due credit must be given to both Erik Lundborg and Conrad Pope for their stellar work spanning not only Revolutions, but Reloaded, Enter the Matrix and The Animatrix. In the end, the overall tone of The Matrix Revolutions is much more serious than its predecessors. Revolutions gives Don Davis plenty of opportunity to let the orchestra rip and, for the first time, the respective soundtrack release is dominated by his music.
The Matrix Revolutions can be principally broken down into two parts: the aforementioned "technorchestral" score, and Don Davis' most lyrical, orchestral music of the trilogy. After the traditional, orchestral Main Title sequence by Davis, we have two collaborative tracks with Juno Reactor: "The Trainman Cometh" (2) and "Tetsujin" (3). In "The Trainman Cometh" we hear Davis subtly re-introducing the Neo/Trinity Love Theme before returning to the combative orchestra versus electronic collaboration with Juno Reactor. Juno Reactor's primary contribution to both tracks is along the avenue of synthesized rhythms, bass drops, and percussive instruments.

What remains so intriguing about this "technorchestral" style, is its reinforcement of the whole Man/Machine relationship that dominates the Wachowski's storyline. The application of Don Davis' and Juno Reactor's combined efforts to this specific story couldn't be more appropriate. Davis' orchestral score and Juno Reactor's digital contributions are, at times, audibly in battle, while at others, in virtual synchronicity complimenting one another. For end credits cue, traditionally a rebellious, Rage Against the Machine cut, we have one last Davis-Reactor rematch. "Navras" (16) pairs the two for a pulse-pounding remix of the climactic "Neodämerrung" and reinforces the spiritual/philosophical portion of the story as it spotlights East-Indian vocals. Aside from one dispensable track, "In My Head" (4), by Pale 3, the remainder of the album belongs to Davis.

Since the majority of The Matrix Revolutions takes place in the "real world," it is only fitting that the majority of the musical score come from Davis. Don Davis remains faithful to his well-established style and palette from the first two films: from bits of disconcerting dissonance, to his reflective-brass, to the forceful chorus. Davis now makes much more extensive use of the love-theme, which was boldly (perhaps too boldly) introduced in Reloaded. The culmination of the love theme is found in the cleverly titled "Trinity Definitely" (12). )Remember the title "Trinity Infinity" from the original Matrix?) This is easily the most sentimental piece from the entire trilogy. Not far behind is "Spirit of the Universe" (15) , which counters both the somber tone of track 12 and the pure, unadulterated bombast of most of the rest of score. "Spirit of the Universe" is full of hope and grandeur as both orchestra and chorus are brought to a thrilling crescendo not approached by any other musical moment of The Matrix trilogy.

The climatic-action sequences of Revolutions certainly cannot be overlooked. Don Davis' work for the battle of Zion and Neo Versus Smith III is the stuff that makes those union orchestra members earn every penny of their pay...and make the soundtrack worth every penny! The forceful militaristic edge introduced in The Matrix Reloaded returns in a bit of a mini-suite towards the middle of the soundtrack: "Men in Metal" (6), "Niobe's Run" (7) and "Moribund Mifune" (9). The climax of the film is underscored by the tour de force tracks "Neodämerrung" (13) and "Why, Mr. Anderson" (14), both of which echo back to the "Burly Brawl" from The Matrix Reloaded, but lack Juno Reactor's contribution. Juno Reactor does return for the end credits sequence.

The irony of The Matrix trilogy is that, arguably, the least enjoyable film of the three features the most intriguing score by Davis. Back in 1999, The Matrix took most people by pleasant surprise and the effective use of electronica and original score fit the film and the respective sequences perfectly; however, Davis' score received little attention. The Matrix Reloaded began a transition in the music's focus that was ultimately fulfilled in The Matrix Revolutions. That transition gave more and more opportunity to Davis, and, regardless of how one feels about the final two films, it can hardly be argued that he made the most of it.

Rating: 8/10


"Revolutions is truly the continuation of one large work, and stands to be one of the most complex, layered, and impressive film scores ever. " *****

Chris Tilton - Cinemusic Reviews
The Matrix Revolutions

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Track Title Track Time Rating
1 The Matrix Revolutions Main Title 1:19  ***
2 The Trainman Cometh 2:38  ***
3 Tetsujin 3:18  ****
4 In My Head (Pale 3) 3:50  *
5 The Road to Sourceville 1:23  ***
6 Men in Metal 2:16  ***
7 Niobe's Run 2:44  ***
8 Woman Can Drive 2:39  ***
9 Moribund Mifune 3:45  ****
10 Kidfried 4:46  ****
11 Saw Bitch Workhorse 3:56  ***
12 Trinity Definitely 4:12  ****
13 Neodämmerung 5:57  *****
14 Why, Mr. Anderson? 6:06  ****
15 Spirit of the Universe 4:48  ****
16 Navras 9:13  *****

Total Running Time





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