If you thought the two Matrix sequels were overhyped, you’re not alone. On the other hand, if you missed the animated feature The Animatrix, you missed some of the most exciting visuals and storytelling of the series.
The soundtrack is also exceptional. The Animatrix soundtrack features some great electronica that evokes the dark mood of the Matrix series. The Peace Orchestra starts it off with a moody cut that sounds superficially like a chill-out cut, but carries a darker message. Free*Land contributes “Big Wednesday”, another downtempo, moody cut. Layo & Bushwacka’s “Blind Tiger”, a cut that mixes lo-fi jazz samples with hip-hop grooves.
The Supreme Beings of Leisure kick it up a notch with “Under the Gun”. It starts with 60’s spy-flick guitar. Sexy processed vocals and vibes complete the retro feel and make this a standout cut.
Photek contributes a heavy “Ren 2”. It features processed guitars, mixed up beats, and filtered synths. It’s heavy and glitchy. Another heavy cut is Overseer’s “Supermoves”. This captures the Matrix feel perfectly, like Rage Against the Machine and Propellerheads did on the original Matrix album.
The last two cuts combine Don Davis’ soundtrack work with techno remixing. Junkie XL and Tech Itch do the remix work. Neither of these are actually in the Animatrix, and there’s good reason. Junkie XL’s “Red Pill//Blue Pill” is a good cut, but it suffers from the fact that we’ve heard too many Matrix samples mixed together with electronica already. Tech Itch’s “The Real”, has good hard beats and works better than the Junkie XL cut, but again, we’ve heard it before. Neither of these cuts take much away from the album as a whole, but they don’t add much either.
All in all, the Animatrix CD is a good collection of some darker electronica, with a range of down-tempo and fast numbers that sound good even if you haven’t seen the movie.