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Prime Audio Soup: The enduring influence of The Matrix soundtrack

Reflections on life-changing music from a motion picture

  • Patrick Hinton
  • 30 June 2017
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The film was thrilling. A hurricane of high-octane action, bullet time visuals, doomsday machines, with no mind given to the philosophical themes coursing through the plot. But the visual spectacle wouldn’t have made half the impression it did without the backing of the film’s frenzied soundtrack. My listening habits at the time mainly comprised the music my parents played: A combination of 80s alt rock and contemporary soul. I was conditioned to think electronic music was worthless – stigmatic even.

The Matrix, and its blistering, warped, twisting soundtrack, changed that. In that initial club scene where Neo and Trinity first meet, I was on the edge of my seat, sucked into an unknown world of hedonism, strobe lights and eccentric dressers. Red pills and blue pills. All fuelled by the force of thrashing drums and skewed synths that heightened blood pressure and dilated pupils in focused awe. The two minute clip above alone barrels a Rob Zombie remix into The Prodigy, with the layering of Richie Hawtin’s eerie ‘Plasticity’ audible to strained ears in the background. It was an unconscious introduction to the power of mixing records together.

Other highlights included the irresistible, bassline big beat of the Propellerheads in that iconic lobby shootout, the trepidatious, anthemic darkness of ‘Clubbed to Death’ and Meat Beat Manifesto’s simultaneously adrenaline-charged and woozy ‘Prime Audio Soup’. The sounds were earth-shattering – opening up a world emancipated from guitars and mournful lyrics, with the ingrained intent of the music purely to exhilarate. A seed was born that would bloom into a consuming love for electronic music.

 
 
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