2. Unable to Speak (1:13)
Another highlight of the score (or its low point, depending on how you look at it), this extremely atonal piece bases all its orchestral chaos on a series of rapid triplets, building until the entire ensemble has reached a fever pitch of atonality. To the untrained ear, this may sound like disturbing orchestral noise, but if you listen carefully, there's definitely a method to the madness.
3. The Power Plant (2:40)
Yet another fantastic composition! There hasn't been a bad moment in this score yet (and there never will be). Davis continues his atonal style heard in all the other cues, but now with an added screaming chorus. Most of the cue is based on a Rosenman-like technique that involves piling up chromatic tones into a smorgasbord of dissonance. The central section actually contains some melody, with huge minor chords and chanting chorus. The only other time they appear in the cue is as a yelling, Ligeti-like blob. (Think 2001.) Also present here are more of the frantic dissonant brass triplets from track 2, and Davis magnificently interpolates the Matrix motif into a 6/8 trumpet fanfare. Finally, the cue ends with more of the fading brass.
4. Welcome to the Real World (2:25)
We finally get a respite from the onslaught of merciless atonality for a while in this minimalistic cue. It begins with softer, far-off string dissonance, and segues into a section for solo violin and boy soprano. The soprano continually alternates between two full tones, while the violin performs the V'ger arpeggios from ST:TMP, with an interesting twist. To keep it from being entirely minimalistic, Davis has it start out in 6/8, play for a few measures, then play it twice as fast in regular 4/4. Hints of the ST:TMP synth instrument end the track.
5. The Hotel Ambush (5:22)
This begins the last section of the album, a series of 6 atonal action tracks, giving a powerful lesson in orchestral abuse. Although opening with an annoying synth techno beat, Davis soon buries it with dissonant brass chords and a viola ostinato. More of the Rosenman-esque piling of notes forms the second section, and the third is another atonal chase cue with ferocious string ostinati and dissonant brass. Intercut in this section is more cacophonous electronics, taking the ST:TMP fluttering instrument to extremes. The final minute has more tone-piling, trumpet triplets, and a string effect that sounds like a hissing cat. Finally, the brass enters with an offshoot of the Matrix motif, played with fast triplets.
6. Exit Mr. Hat (1:20)
This is another action cue, again taking atonality to the extremes, moreso than most other cues present. The tone-piling technique is improved upon, and he uses a intriguing technique of utilizing simultaneous horn glissandi, each a semitone apart.
7. A Virus (1:32)
I think you notice the action trend emerging here. This one opens with combination chromatic strings and fluttering electronics, and has reprises of some of the chase ostinati present in other tracks.
8. Bullet-time (1:09)
Yet another furious action piece. Most of the ostinati and atonal techniques have been heard before, although there's a welcome section made up entirely of the Matrix theme.
9. Ontological Shock (3:31)
This action cue seems somewhat more tonal than the others, although it still has the piling semitones, cacophonous brass triplets, and that fantastic Matrix motif. What's so great about this one is that it bases the entire thing on the Matrix theme, and although all the permutations aren't that easy to spot, it still shows compositional geniuss on Davis' part.
10. Anything is Possible (6:48)
The climactic track of the album is definitely one of the best, using the Matrix theme in ingenius ways. I'm not going to go through and chart out every note and technique used in this cue, but some of the highlights are the usual lightning-fast atonality and a new, victorious theme that opens up in the last five minutes. The chorus returns, too, adding epic splendor to the proceedings. Also, Davis gives a fitting climax to his atonality with a sequence that rivals "Unable to Speak" in its sheer pagan ferocity. Finally, the last few statements of the main theme are some of the most noteworthy thematic occurences I've ever heard, and its sudden atonality joined with the heroic theme is truly inspiring.
Overall, The Matrix is definitely at or near the
top of my list for best scores of 1999, and fans of the movie or cacophony
in general will definitely get a kick out of it. For others, it may
take a while to grow on, but there's no denying its sheer compositional