Tuesday, 15 April 2014

“21 Grams” – Soundtrack CD by GUSTAVO SANTAOLALLA


"…Light In The Darkness…" – 21 Grams Soundtrack CD by GUSTAVO SANTAOLALLA

I remember watching the movie "The Motorcycle Diaries" in the cinema in 2004 and being ever so subtly moved by the accompanying soundtrack of Ry Cooder type guitar strums. It was a type of “Paris, Texas” vibe -all moody slide-guitars and strings rattling with menace and foreboding - but with a South American twist this time. It was hypnotic stuff and I knew I had to own it immediately.

Like Thomas Newman – there is something about GUSTAVO SANTAOLALLA and his incidental film music that sends me – and whenever I include it on a CD-R for play purposes – friends always ask,  “Who is this!”

I quickly began vacuuming up everything I could get my grubby paws on by the guy – backtracking to 2003’s “21 Grams". He appears to be the preferred music man for Director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu who also did the much praised “Amores Perros” and “Babel” (see review for the BLU RAY).  

The guest tracks are “Cut Chemist Suite” a rap song by OZOMATTI, “Low Rider” the 1976 Soul Rock classic by WAR. “You’re Losing Me” a 1973 US Funky Soul gem by ANN SEXTON and “When Our Wings Are Cut, Can We Still Fly” by THE KRONOS QUARTET. Best of the oddities is actor BENECIO DEL TORO doing a spoken version of Big Joe Turner’s Fifties anthem “Shake, Rattle & Roll” – it sounds like spoken TOM WAITS and is so cool - it’s frankly embarrassing. The rest are GS originals.

The music is trippy treatments bolstered up by shimmering guitars, a Harmonium and South American Pipes – “Can Dry Leaves Help Us?” even uses dialogue from the father and two children who phone their mum (and never come home). “Can We Mix The Unmixable?” is the same cool jumble but with a House backbeat. My fave though is the haunting “Can Light Be Found In The Darkness” which flicks electric guitars pings from speaker to speaker at the start while a Harmonium gives it backbeat power – ending in his trademark strummed acoustic guitars. It’s fabulous stuff…

This CD now appears to be passing hands for staggering sums of money - but I'd argue - it's worth it. I bought the Japanese 16-track version on Geneon GNCE-3011 (Barcode 4988102230258).

Beautiful, trippy, moving and cool as fuck – next stop for you should be the 2CD set for the amazing “Babel” which is frankly better than this – and that’s saying a lot…


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