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Matrix Revolutions (The Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Don Davis

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Album Review

Unlike the previous soundtracks for the Wachowski Brothers' sci-fi epic The Matrix, the soundtrack for The Matrix Revolutions, the final installment of the trilogy, largely dispenses with the turgid alt-metal and electronica that pinned the entire franchise squarely in a time slightly before April of 1999. Instead, it concentrates on the score that Don Davis wrote for the film, punctuating it with three collaborations with electronica group Juno Reactor and a cut by Pale 3, an electronica outfit that did the soundtrack to The Princess & the Warrior, Tom Tykwer's follow-up to Run Lola Run. All this means is that the soundtrack is an actual soundtrack, collecting the music from the movies, instead of being a collection of songs "inspired" by the movie, as the last two Matrix albums were. This is a benefit, since it helps capture the operatic scale of the film, and it works well as an isolated score. The biggest drawback is that none of the Matrix films have a memorable main theme, something that is instantly identifiable as the sound of The Matrix. Instead, Davis relies on lots of sonic textures — string glissandos, stabbing brass, ominous bass, clanking dissonance, cacophonous triplets, lots of sudden swells of intensity and instant release — that underpin the emotion and action of particular scenes. Since the album itself follows the plot line of the film, it has momentum of its own, building in drama and effect as it builds toward the climatic superbrawl between Neo and Agent Smith. This makes for effective listening, even if the musical motifs, particularly the dissonant triplets, get a little repetitive by the end. Nevertheless, it's a good souvenir soundtrack, and one that's easier to digest than the moribund metal that weighed down the first two Matrix soundtracks.

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