Believe the Unbelievable and Remember the Future
June 11, 2021
June 2021 Sci-Fi CD Club Titles Available Now from Varèse Sarabande Records
Varèse Sarabande Records’ June CD Club releases include the science fiction film scores from THE MATRIX(The Complete Edition) featuring the music of composer Don Davis and PAYCHECK(The Deluxe Edition), with music from John Powell.
The Matrix (The Complete Edition): Few blockbusters can claim to be as influential as THE MATRIX (1999), written and directed by the Wachowskis. From its super high concept that has wormed its way into the public’s imagination (what if we’re all just living in a computer simulation?), to Keanu Reeves’ iconic hero Neo, to the brilliant, jaw-dropping and story-based visual effects, THE MATRIX delivered on all fronts. Its three films grossed over $1.6 billion worldwide, and a fourth is on the way. THE MATRIX demanded a score that was as unique, sophisticated and imaginative as its concept and action – and that’s exactly what composer Don Davis delivered. Davis, who previously scored the Wachowskis’ BOUND (1996), reinvented the symphonic language of the action blockbuster by drawing on cutting-edge concert-hall minimalism and his own background as an avant-garde composer, while maintaining the energy, pace and density required of a studio action film.
From the clashing-brass “reflections,” to the racing strings, pounding percussion and flittering, repeating musical “cells,” THE MATRIX score fits hand-in-glove with the film’s concept of a computer-controlled reality—and offers a unique musical thumbprint that is recognizable sometimes only from a single note or chord. It is the rare commercial triumph that is also an artistic landmark.
“One thing the Wachowskis did want was something new and different,” Davis said. “Every director will tell you they want that something new and different until they actually hear it. But I took that to heart, and it was clear that a unique approach really was right for that film. I’ve kept my hand in composing concert music from the beginning, so I was aware of what was going on in that arena. [We] were working in a style that some were calling ‘postmodern,’ which seemed to be fitting for a postmodern film like THE MATRIX. And I saw this as an opportunity to take it in a stylistic direction that wouldn’t work in other films but specifically did work in this film.”
THE MATRIX was released by Varèse Sarabande at the time of the film, and then in a Deluxe Edition that fit as much of the score as possible on one CD. By popular demand, this new 2-CD set presents the complete score. This version is also available through Record Store Day 2021 as a 3-LP set releasing on July 17. Visit RecordStoreDay.com to find a participating retailer. Liner notes feature a new interview with Don Davis conducted by Kaya Savas.
Paycheck (The Deluxe Edition): John Powell burst into film scoring with a magnificent, emotional and modern soundtrack to John Woo’s iconic hit, FACE/OFF (1997). Six years later, Woo and Powell reunited for PAYCHECK (2003), a sci-fi techno-thriller based on a 1953 short story by Philip K. Dick (Blade Runner, Total Recall). Ben Affleck stars as a programming engineer who undergoes a voluntary memory wipe to protect his client’s secrets—but upon going to collect his paycheck, he is given an envelope of seemingly random trinkets and items. He must use these clues to unearth the terrible secrets of his own project. By 2003, John Powell had already scored THE BOURNE IDENTITY and had his finger on the pulse of the modern action-thriller score. PAYCHECK blends synth and pop-rhythms with orchestral scope and, most importantly, Powell’s impeccable sense of taste. Despite almost non-stop action and suspense, he focuses on emotion and utilizes melody to elevate the proceedings. “I’ve always wanted to do a ballet, so I had been fascinated by choreographers and dance for quite some time. I utilized that conversation with John [Woo] as an inspiration to create the drama of a danced story,” said Powell. PAYCHECK was released by Varèse Sarabande at the time of the film; this 2-CD set Deluxe Edition greatly expands the playing time to over 95 minutes, and features new liner notes by Daniel Schweiger, incorporating new interview comments with Powell.