The Matrix (1999)
The Matrix (1999) Don Davis
First released June 18, 2014
Many ask how I choose which film scores to release. In the case of The Matrix, I just happened to be having a conversation about the score. During the conversation, we listened to a section and noted just how energetic it is. Somehow I had acquired a photocopy of the score, I just needed the blessing from Don Davis, and permission to self-publish. Both occurred almost simultaneously. In fact, the composer even offered electronic files to work from that had just been used for a live-to-picture concert. Working from those files made it a breeze to import into my house style. The one exception was the cue “Unable To Speak.” When going over the score with Don, he even asked how long it took to engrave that cue. I told him each page probably took me 1-2 days and he wasn’t the least bit surprised. Getting the opportunity to discuss the score with him was amazing, and I even pointed out some things in the score that must have been changed for the recording session. Most notably, there was a trumpet cluster added in “Trinity Infinity” bar 114 not present in the original hand-written score.
Neo means “new,” and that’s exactly what the Wachowski brothers presented with their spectacular science fiction film. The Matrix was an overwhelming success when it was released in 1999 by Warner Bros. It proposed the idea that everything man knows in terms of reality is a computer simulation controlled by machines in a real world of the future. The production elements are stunning, especially in the art direction and Wachowski brothers’ trend-setting techniques of shooting, editing, and visual style. They knew the music had to be equally ground-breaking, which is why they turned to their collaborator, Don Davis.
Davis was requested by the Wachowski brothers to write music that was different, and whether you label it avant garde or postmodern, he blended concert music and elements of the “Hollywood” style to create a very unique sound for the movie, which would be the musical thread of the following two sequels.
Central to the score is the pulsing brass effect that wavers between a minor horn chord below and a major trumpet chord on top. Instantly recognizable, this effect shows up in several cues, during moments when we see the impossible happening. Other hallmarks include cluster chords that swell in the brass, a choir that underscores the horror and majesty, and several otherworldly-sounding percussion instruments. Both the film and the score are a perfect match; unique and original.
Now musicians, music students, conductors – any music lover – can study The Matrix in this durable, high-quality edition, carefully reproduced and edited from the original handwritten manuscript.