Babel (Music from and Inspired By the Motion Picture)
Director Alejandro González Iñárritu completes the disparate trilogy of interlocking fate he began with Amores Perros and 21 Grams here, offering musical collaborator Gustavo Santaolalla an even wider geographical canvas to work with. The Argentine composer/musician rises ably to the task, suffusing his fretboard meditations with a dedicated mastery of indigenous Middle Eastern string instruments and incorporating field recordings of Moroccan tribal music. Santaolalla's evocative original cues also serve as the axis for a dizzying array of world music and international pop. As the "music from and inspired by" subtitle suggests, not all of this latter music is used in the film, yet these selections contribute to a rich, pan-cultural musical tapestry that interweaves the composer's North African-rooted musings with tracks that literally range from Tijuana to Tokyo, including the brooding sonic aura of Ryuichi Sakamoto and Susumu Yolota, dollops of effusive Norteno that include Los Incomparables and Agua Caliente, the teen-pop of Takashi Fujii, and Shinichi Osawa 's smart Earth, Wind & Wire/Fatboy Slim mash-up.