The Matrix can probably be considered Don Davis' big breakthrough as a composer. His score for the widely succesful film, directed by the Wachowski brothers, starring Keanu Reeves and Laurence Fishburn, can be described with one word. Power. It's been a long time since I heard a score this powerful, dark and agressive.
Davis makes us of a big orchestra, choir, synths, boy soprano and an abundance of percussive instruments, such as bongos, and the result is of course a sound that is huge and simply great. Add to this fresh and inventive ideas, and you have one of the most interesting and memorable scores of 1999. Opening with "Main Title/Trinity Infinity", Davis sets the tone of the score immediately. With dark swirling strings and incredibly powerful brass, it builds, but then fades away, only to build again towards some extremely furious music, and all the time with the low, rapid strings in the background.
There is almost no thematic material at all in the score. Instead Don Davis relies on sound, but the way he does it is just excellent - The Matrix is like a wall of sound that smacks you right in the face. Still, the music never gets uninteresting, as it is so full of energy and the fact that there's always something going on. I suspect that a lot of the music was improvised by the musicians during the recording sessions, as it often is just total chaos, with every instrument playing its own, unique, part.
Although the score often is loud and powerful, there are some almost eerie parts, like for instance in the beginning of "Welcome to the Real World", which includes the haunting voice of the boy soprano, supported by primarily harp and brass.