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Album running time

1: Main Title (2:28)
2: Gant Takes Michael (1:45)
3: The Kidnapping (2:13)
4: Ecks Remembers (4:10)
5: Severcam (1:22)
6: Library Attack (2:29)
7: Sever Breaks Out (2:55)
8: The Artillary Truck (2:00)
9: Bad Feeling (1:37)
10: Sever Shoots Martin (2:51)
11: Rooftop Fight (2:25)
12: Sever Finds the Bug (2:16)
13: Ecks at Harry's (1:22)
14: Discovery (4:10)
15: Bus Chase (2:11)
16: Sever Meets Ecks (1:12)
17: Ecks is Mobile (7:26)
18: Michael's Return (2:54)
19: Mining the Rail Yard (3:16)
20: Ecks Attacks (6:12)
21: The Silo Fight (4:03)
22: Gant's Remorse (4:28)
23: Sever's Farewell (2:11)

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Artwork copyright (c) 2002 Warner Bros.; review copyright (c) 2003 James Southall

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Davis goes ballistic

Don Davis: composer of the smash-hit The Matrix and, erm, oh... remaining titles don't exactly roll off the tongue. It's amazing really that given his solid work, Davis doesn't really seem to have made much headway up the Hollywood list of film composers. Why else would he be scoring Ballistic: Ecks vs Sever (catchy title)? We were told he did Turbulence 2 because he was already contracted to do it before The Matrix came along. Well, we're a few years down the line now, so surely he doesn't have to do this type of thing any more? Apparently so.

Following in cinema's grand tradition of Citizen Kane, Lawrence of Arabia and Apocalypse Now, Ballistic: Ecks vs Sever tells the story of how several people in long coats and sunglasses shoot and beat the shit out of each other and everybody dies. It stars Antonio Banderas and Lucy Liu and is directed by Wych Kaosayananda, who abbreviates his name to Kaos in the credits: a word which fairly aptly describes the score. But chaos can be a good thing in film music; isn't Planet of the Apes chaotic? It can plainly also be a bad thing.

There's a place for music like Ballistic, and it's in terrible films that require no thought on the part of either the audience or indeed the filmmakers. Entirely synthesised, Davis's music forms 23 tracks of melody-free techno music, with loads of synth ethnic wailing, synth guitars and synth percussion. And nothing else. If you think Trevor Rabin's stuff is a bit too complex for you, this might be the perfect place to turn. Frankly it's one of the worst albums I've ever heard, and the fact it's 68:50 long must be someone's idea of a joke.

Quick word about film music fans: when Varèse announced they were releasing a song compilation from the film with just two tracks of score, everyone went mad. When Varèse did then release the score, nobody wanted to know. It's a funny old game, as a wise man once said, when scores achieve such high praise when they're unreleased - the "I've got something you haven't" schadenfreude is fairly plain. Be careful what you wish for in future.

The saddest thing of all is that such a talented composer as Don Davis is forced to write for trash like this.

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