The Matrix Score
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MP3 Music, May 4, 1999
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Davis,Don ~ Matrix
Musically avant-garde elements have been utilized in film scores for decades, usually as shock elements to denote horror or the otherworldly. In recent times, modern composer Philip Glass has enjoyed varying degrees of success adapting his minimalist techniques to film scoring. Given that background, Don Davis's powerful, innovative score to the Wachowski brothers' 1999 sci-fi hit The Matrix has all the makings of a landmark. Utilizing his extensive interest and training in the avant-garde, Davis has composed what's been touted as the first "New York school postmodern" film score, a jarring departure from his hugely successful work as an orchestrator of such populist fare as Titanic, Pleasantville, A Bug's Life, and Toy Story. The Matrix weds Davis's mastery of musical detail and coloration to a largely atonal postmodern concerto that's complex, dark, and unrelenting. Many film scores have driven tonal writing and heroic motifs into the ground; Davis's deft, sparing use of them here places them in stark, effective relief. The Matrix offers up a rewarding orchestral challenge that may just be a decade--or two--ahead of its time. --Jerry McCulley
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The music stands on its own without reference to the movie. I imagine it would be wonderful to hear in a concert hall. I went to Don Davis' site and listened to some of his other music; unfortunately, nothing else came close to the power and originality displayed in this score.
Some complain it's short; I don't think I could take much more. Each listening is a workout that leaves me a little stunned -- in a good way.
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Playback sounds terrible. Some quality control would be nice every once in a while.