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SONIC DEATH MONKEY Soundtrack Reviews - Babel

°hola mono!
by Michael Collins

Alejandro GonzŠlez IŮŠrritu films are always greatly anticipated events. Let's check out the soundtrack to his latest, Babel

The album begins gently. Like a person slowly waking up to greet the new day. A lone guitar plays a mournful tune. It segues into the next track and the guitarist is joined by a singer. The opening tracks are haunting and beautiful.

We are gradually eased out of this serene introduction with Earth Wind and Fire with September and Ė of all people Ė Fatboy Slim. They have us dancing on that serene beginning.

Yet the serenity makes a return as we hear more of the score from Gustavo Santaolalla. Unsurprisingly it has a Mexican/Spanish feel to it. The music is again guitar led and there are hints of harps and mandolins.

David Sylvian and Ryuichi Sakamoto enchanted us all with the Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence soundtrack all those years ago. Here they present a track that will remind fans of their previous collaborations. Itís a minimalist arrangement with Sylvianís voice the main focus of attention. It may not be better than Forbidden Colours, but itís damn fine. Sakamoto makes other welcome contributions to the soundtrack as well.

Ruining the mood somewhat is Rip Slyme (Rip what? Huh?) with Masterpiece. This track isnít exactly true to its name.

Itís here that I begin to wonder whether the 2CD thing that this soundtrack has was really a good idea. Itís a big ask to keep an interest in a soundtrack that spans two CDs.

Some more surprises are in stall for us with El Chapo who provides a tuba led tune that sort of sounds like ragtime in Mexico - If there was ever such a thing. There probably was.

The second disc starts with a Sakamoto ambient track to again get you into that mellow mood.

The mood then quickly shifts to the energetic with a folky/ska track by Los Incomparables. This mood is continued, yet in a slightly restrained fashion with another Fustavo Santaolalla composition. He is to feature prominently in the second CD of the soundtrack.

Some of these tracks may have been great to listen to in a bar where the tequila is flowing, but here, they donít quite have the kick of a bottle of Reposado.

The next few tracks a very folk influenced and things start to merge into each other. That is until the unusual drum sampled led, Into The Wild. Itís not that an engaging track, but at least it breaks up the monotony.

Oh My Juliet also surprises with its modern dance beat, but itís more a befuddled, what-the-hell-is-this-doing-here response that is given by the listener.
So the album continues on its earnest way and while its heart is in the right place, for this listener it was loosing me about a third of the way through the second disc. Itís a noble effort, but Iím not the one to be won over by this soundtrack.

link directly to this feature at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/feature.php?feature=2020
originally posted: 11/23/06 05:29:55
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