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The Cyberpunk Matrix Podcast | Episode 2: NeoMatrixology discusses the Matrix Universe

Welcome to the Second Episode of the Cyberpunk Matrix Podcast

In the Cyberpunk Matrix Podcast Episode 2,  I am joined by Matrix University Director Lazarus, host of the NeoMatrixology YouTube channel.

We discuss:

  • The term NeoMatrixology
  • Addressing Misconceptions about the Matrix
  • The Matrix Fan Community
  • The Yellow-pilled approach and Matrix University
  • Learning new things about the Matrix every day
  • Matrix 4 News
  • Matrix 4 Predictions
  • What we’re most excited about for Matrix 4
  • John Wick
  • Matrix 4 Expectations

Hope you enjoy! Feel free to write your responses in the comments below, and if you’d like to be a guest or want some questions answered on the podcast, send us an email to thecyberpunkmatrix@gmail.com

Introducing the Cyberpunk Matrix Podcast: Episode 00

Introducing the Cyberpunk Matrix Podcast: Episode 00

In this initial Episode 00, I talk about

  • The definition of Cyberpunk
  • Some examples of the genre
  • The importance of Cyberpunk in our current society
  • Why we are seeing a resurgence in Cyberpunk.
  • Why I decided to start the Cyberpunk Matrix Podcast
  • Why I decided to start the Cyberpunk Matrix Blog
  • Common Cyberpunk aesthetics
  • Why I love the Cyberpunk genre
  • What listeners can expect from the Cyberpunk Matrix Podcast.

Hope you enjoy! Feel free to write your responses in the comments below, and if you’d like to be a guest or want some questions answered on the podcast, send us an email to thecyberpunkmatrix@gmail.com

Matrix 4: What we Know so Far (June 2021 Updates)

Matrix 4: What do we know so far?

It is now less than 200 days until Matrix 4 will be released in theaters on December 22nd, 2021. But what do we know about the film so far? Here at Cyberpunk Matrix, we’ll bring you up to speed on the latest developments all the way back to the original announcements.

Here’s what we know so far about Matrix 4:

Matrix 4 Directors, Writers, and Creators

Directed by Lana Wachowski, Lilly will not be participating in the creation of the movie. Matrix 4 will be produced by both Lana Wachowski and Grant Hill.

The script has been written by Lana Wachowski as well, but this time with help from additional writers Aleksander Hemon and David Mitchell (Cloud Atlas).

Matrix 4 Cast

Returning to the Matrix franchise are Keanu Reeves (Neo/Thomas Anderson), Carrie-Anne Moss (Trinity),

Jada Pinkett-Smith (Niobe),

Lambert Wilson (The Merovingian), and Daniel Bernhardt (Agent Johnson).

Newcomers to the cast include Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (Aquaman, Watchmen),

Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother, A Series of Unfortunate Events),

Jessica Henwick (Iron Fist),

Jonathan Groff (Glee, Frozen, Mindhunter),

Ellen Hollman (Spartacus),

Priyanka Chopra (Baywatch),

and Christina Ricci (Black Snake Moan, Speed Racer).

Also part of the cast are ex-Sense8 cast members, whom have all worked with the Wachowskis during the Sense 8 series in the past. These include Toby Onwumere, Max Riemelt, Erendira Ibarra, Andrew Caldwell, and Brian J Smith.

Notably absent from the Matrix 4 cast are Laurence Fishburne, who was not asked to reprise his old role as Morpheus, as well as Hugo Weaving, who was approached but ultimately not able to join the cast due to a scheduling conflict.

Matrix 4 Filming

Under the codename “Project Ice Cream”, filming began in San Francisco on February 4th, 2020, and wrapped in San Francisco and Alameda in March right before the COVID-19 Pandemic. Unfortunately, there was still some filming that needed to be done in Berlin at Studio Babelsberg, which was delayed but ultimately finished by the end of 2020. Matrix 4 is currently set to come out on December 22nd, 2021.

Matrix 4 Plot: Educated Guesses

We don’t know much about what will be in the movie yet, but after leaked shots of filming in San Francisco, we can make some educated guesses.

At some point during filming Keanu Reeves shaved his head, which suggests that he will be playing a Neo / Thomas Anderson who is alive and well in the real world, which brings into question how he was resurrected after his apparent death at the end of Matrix Revolutions.

He was also filmed with what looks like a haggard appearance in what must be the Matrix, suggesting his virtual self comes back too, perhaps with no memory of his past life?

Carrie-Anne Moss’ casting also suggests that Trinity was also able to be resurrected somehow as well, unless if time travel or memory-scenes aren’t being used as plot devices, which I personally doubt. I think it much more likely that Neo and Trinity’s consciousnesses will be somehow downloaded from the Matrix and reinserted into either clones or real-world bodies, which would explain their resurrection somehow.

Also in filming military helicopters were present flying among the buildings of San Francisco, which suggests some sort of explosive action sequences, complete with chase scenes on motorcycles, within the matrix itself. FBI agents and SWAT teams will probably be present within the Matrix world, at least.

Notably present in the filming were scenes of someone looking like Trinity catching someone looking like Neo in the sky suspended between two different skyscrapers. Then Trinity appears to fly up into the sky holding Neo, which suggests that perhaps Trinity becomes more powerful than Neo in this next chapter of the story, and that Neo maybe needs to re-learn or re-discover who he is.

Also from the rumor mill is that Matrix 4 will actually be called Matrix Resurrections, based on this post by Shunika Terry, a makeup artist who worked with the cast on set. Officially, the movie is still untitled as Matrix 4.

In an interview on “The One Show” on BBC, Keanu Reeves revealed about Matrix 4 that it “is a love story, it’s inspiring, it’s another version of a kind of call to wake up, it entertains, it’s great action, and all will be revealed…no going back into the past.”

So what other kinds of waking up will we see? Whose love story is this about, is it between Neo and Trinity again? We can at least know that it won’t be a prequel or set in the past.

Nonetheless, there are plenty more questions about the upcoming Matrix film, and all we can do is sit and wait for the trailer to release to give us more information. Which will hopefully be any time now.

What do you think Matrix 4 will be about? Let us know your predictions in the comments below.

Cyberpunk Review: Love, Death, and Robots: Vol 2

Cyberpunk Review: Love, Death + Robots Vol. 2

Love, Death, & Robots is a series of animated shorts, an anthology all loosely related to love, death, and robots. Which means that many of which are also cyberpunk related. Volume I released in 2019, and we here at Cyberpunk Matrix covered the cyberpunk-related episodes here. Well, it took a couple years, but I’m happy to report that Volume II is finally here. So fasten you seatbelts, punks, because we’re about to dive into a new wild series of surreal, curious, cyberpunk worlds.

4 Cyberpunk Episodes, 8 Episodes Total

The first thing one notices about Volume II is how short it is compared to Volume I. While Volume I was a generous 18 episodes in length, Volume II contains only 8 episodes. Volume II’s longest episode clocks in at 18 minutes in length, although a considerable part of all episodes contain credits and thus shorten the actual run time, and the shortest runs at 7 minutes in length.

It’s hard to tell with these episodes which ones would truly be considered cyberpunk and which ones wouldn’t, since they are all so short, but since here at Cyberpunk Matrix we’re used to considered if something is Cyberpunk, I’m fairly confident with the episodes we selected. So here it is, folks, all the episodes related to Cyberpunk from Volume II of Love, Death, and Robots, complete with my own thoughts and review of each episode. Ironically, these four episodes are also the four that are first in the 8-episode anthology series

Cyberpunk episodes from Vol. 2:

  1. Automated Customer Service
  2. Ice
  3. Pop Squad
  4. Snow in the Desert

Cyberpunk Episode 1: Automated Customer Service

This episode reminded me a lot of the episode called blackhead from Black Mirror: a small, automated robot which threatens a nearby human with its cold, relentless hunt of the human it’s searching for.  Unlike Blackhead, however, this episode is delivered with a side of dark humor, a parody of automated customer service answering machines that is as much critical and social commentary as it is ridiculous. It features a future society in an elderly community where all electrical devices have been made automated, so as to give the elderly people who live there as assisted an experience as possible. All seems well and good, a prime utopian experience, until of course one of the automated robots malfunctions and starts threatening every living being inside the home it’s supposed to be cleaning.

I personally didn’t care for the animation itself, with its sharp angles it felt much too similar to a badly rendered videogame. Nonetheless, it ended up being very funny in the end, and as always I’m a sucker for a film, whether it be short or otherwise, that takes something that exists in present day and shows the negative sides of it by speculating what would happen if we took that same system to the extreme.

Basically, if you like dystopian futures with robots, and you like dark humor, then you’ll love this episode.

Cyberpunk Episode 2: Ice

Ice is a coming of age story about a teenager who is struggling to fit in with the other kids at school. A classic tale, of course, except the twist for this one is that the town they live in seems to be in the middle of a frozen tundra, with only oil wells of some sort and the residences of the workers who maintain them. Oh and the majority of the kids in town are genetically augmented, which makes the only un-augmented younger brother feel out of place and thus compelled to prove himself that much more.

At first I wasn’t going to classify this entry as a cyberpunk short, until I considered the genetic augmentations, the drugs, the punk-like artwork, and the rebellious nature of the teens sneaking out of their homes to take part in dangerous games to demonstrate their fearlessness and ability.

If you like stylistic artwork, high contrast, and a coming of age story with a dramatic thrilling end, then you’ll like Ice.

Cyberpunk Episode 3: Pop Squad

Pop Squad was my personal favorite of all eight episodes. Closely resembling a film-noir style set in the future (which is just like what Blade Runner did to pioneer the cyberpunk style), Pop Squad features a government operative, a detective of sorts whose mission is to find and process unregistered, or illegal children. Illegal children in this world doesn’t mean immigrants, however. Rather, it’s a type of population control police force to ensure that humanity isn’t having too many children, or any children at all for that matter, which seems to be a luxury reserved for the rich and powerful. This society also seems to have solved the problem of ageing, allowing many of its citizens to live hundreds of years. So what happens when one such population-control detective develops a conscience? Well, you get pop squad. The voice acting, visuals, and acting are all incredible. The episode also asks the question of what makes life worth living, where we as a society place our values, and why seeing the world through a child’s eyes is important.

Cyberpunk Episode 4: Snow in the Desert

Perhaps the most fun, interesting, and well-animated episode of all  (it seems to be a favorite for many), Snow in the Desert is about an albino bounty hunter with an unusual physiological special ability that everyone wants to kill him for. Set on what looks like a desert planet similar to Tatooine from Star Wars, it features some calm moments and some exciting moments, with a surprise ending that really drives home the Cyberpunk elements. The animation for this episode was incredible–it really felt like live action even though it was digitally animated. I was also left wanting more, and Snow himself reminded me a lot of an old, grizzly Han Solo.

If you like desert planets, high-quality digital animation, action/mystery and great visuals, then you’ll like Snow in the Desert.

Final Verdict: 8.5/10

For the quality of the visuals, the great voice acting, the action and compelling stories delivered in these short segments, I give Volume 2 a high rating of 8.5. I only wish we got more episodes, 8 is a woefully low number considering how short each episode is, but otherwise I felt the quality of all the episodes were really good. If I had to pick I would say Volume 1 was better, simply because there was more there so they had some better episodes and some worse episodes overall.

But what were your thoughts? Which episodes were your favorite? Make sure to let us know in the comments below.

 

Daft Punk: A Cyberpunk Requiem

The end of a Cyberpunk Musical Legacy

On February 22nd, the seminal band Daft Punk announced the sobering news that they would officially be no more. Consisting of Parisian-born musicians Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter, they announced their breakup with a 8-minute epilogue excerpted from their 2006 film Electroma, a science fiction film directed by the pair featuring a quest for two robots to become human.

But who were Daft Punk really? And how do they relate to the genre of Cyberpunk, if at all? Today we’re taking a look at the influential legend that is Daft Punk.

The Origins of Daft Punk

Daft Punk formed in Paris in 1993 by two friends who met in High School. They achieved a level of timelessness by combining styles from the past with imagery of the future.

They originally experimented with Guitar-Based rock before changing their name to Daft Punk in response to a reviewer who called them a “Daft Punky Thrash”.

They then started experimenting with drum machines and synthesizers, and later secured a record deal with Virgin Records. Their very first performance was in the US at a techno festival in Wisconsin in 1996. Back then they performed with either Halloween masks or no masks at all.

Daft Punk’s 1st album: Homework

Their first album Homework released in 1997, and was described by the UK magazine Muzik as “One of the Most Hyped Debut Albums in a long all Time”. The record charted in 14 countries, mostly in Europe, and then Daft Punk went on tour for 12 months that year.

The album was mostly made up with simple beats and was basically a record for a club. However, it created a massive wave in the european music scene at its time.

Daft Punk’s 2nd Album: Discovery

They next album, Discovery, was a massive evolution from Homework. They were inspired by Aphex Twin’s Windowlicker and 70s funk and disco, combined it with pop and house music, and the end result sounded both retro and new. The presence of heavy sampling with Homework and Discovery would ultimately end up being the defining sound of Daft Punk.

Interstella 5555: A Visual Companion to Discovery

Daft Punk would later release an animated film in 2003 that would serve as a visual companion to Discovery. The film bridged anime, musical, and science fiction genres, and was called Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem.

Daft Punk’s Unique Cyberpunk Look

Daft Punk came up with their signature look around the time of Discovery’s release. Going beyond their Halloween masks from before, they wanted to double down on anonymity, and since their audiences found their masks exciting, they continued wearing them. Daft Punk also valued their privacy–they didn’t want to be photographed or noticed on the street. They wanted to keep their personal lives personal. To this day they have conducted almost no interviews, allowing their anonymity and music to speak for itself.

Thomas Bangalter told Face Magazine in the year 2000 that he and Guy-Manuel had become robots on the 9th of September, 1999. Their sampler crashed and exploded on them when they were making a song, apparently, and when they woke up they had become Androids. After they turned into Androids they lost all their previous music, which explains why their music sounds so different afterwards. The inspiration of the style of their helmets comes in part from an unusual rock opera movie called Phantom of the Paradise.

Daft Punk’s 3rd Album: Human After All

Daft Punk’s third album, Human After All, dropped in 2005. This album was the least well received, abandoning its previous disco and house influences for more minimalistic tones. It was also recorded in only 6 weeks.

Daft Punk’s 1st live-recorded album: Alive 2007

Their next album, Alive 2007, was a live album recorded in an arena in Paris with an assortment of Daft Punk’s best songs. Some considered their live versions even better than the original studio recordings.

Daft Punk’s 1st Original Soundtrack: Tron Legacy

This album was basically the complete opposite of Alive 2007, and would be their first (and only) movie soundtrack–the Original Soundtrack for Disney’s Tron Legacy. This album was carefully created using a combination of an 85-piece orchestra and Daft Punk’s own original Synthwave style. They also took a lot of inspiration from Wendy Carlos, who composed the original Tron film soundtrack. Although they had only seen the original Tron a couple times, it had influenced the duo enough to significantly factor into the visual identity they chose for themselves.

Daft Punk’s Final Album: Random Access Memories

Their latest and final album, Random Access Memories, is one of my personal favorite albums of any artist of all time, an opinion I’m not alone in sharing I’m sure. This album just feels like a masterpiece, and in it Daft Punk was able to use the technology at their disposal to its fullest. “Touch,” for instance, uses 250 tracks at the same time, something that was impossible to do with the technology they started out with in the late 1990s. One music reviewer, Volksgeist, had this to say about the album: “RAM is the most human album yet by everyone’s favorite android duo. They finally perfected their formula of presenting styles of the past through a futuristic lens, and for that I consider RAM a modern classic.”

Daft Punk: True Cyberpunk Musical Artists.

There are many reasons why Daft Punk is the most Cyberpunk band out there, more than just the most obvious fact that they have the word Punk in their name and they present themselves as Gold and Silver Robots. Daft Punk scored the big-budget Cyberpunk masterpiece Tron:Legacy (where they also had a cameo), and they have always been using high tech instruments to combine with the low-life practice of sampling, mixing, and remixing their music to create futuristic sounds that feel oddly nostalgic. Daft Punk’s visuals have always futuristic, as if the duo would feel right at home in a cyber dystopian future. A lot of the themes in their songs relate to the relationship between humans and robots, a motif that is one of the most prevalent issues in classic Cyberpunk stories like Ghost in the Shell, Blade Runner, or Alita: Battle Angel. The lyrics in their music, the song names, hell even the album names themselves often relate to the human-android connection. Human After All has Robot Rock and Human After All, Discovery has Digital Love, and the name of the album Random Access Memories, or RAM, is the name of digital memory stored on a computer. With an emphasis on anonymity to keep mega-corporations at bay and stay truly rebellious to the traditional trends of the churning, remorseless music industry, Daft Punk will stand the test of time and will forever remain in our minds visually and auditorily as the Cyberpunk sounds of the past, present, and future.