21 Grams

21 Grams

by Gustavo Santaolalla



The soundtrack to Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's weighty, emotionally wrenching drama 21 Grams features compositions by Gustavo Santaolalla and a few funk, soul, and hip-hop songs. Given that the film revolves around the conceit that the human body loses 21 grams upon death -- arguably the weight of the soul -- it wouldn't be surprising if the film's music was unbearably pretentious. Track titles such as "Can We Mix the Unmixable? (Remix)" and "Can Dry Leaves Help Us?" suggest that the score is indeed overly studied, but fortunately, this is not the case. Santaolalla's atmospheric style is reminiscent of Cliff Martinez, the frequent musical collaborator of Steven Soderbergh. However, Santaolalla's sound is more organic, drawing from droning guitars and subtle electronics. The warm, spacious sound of "Do We Lose 21 Grams?" and "Did This Really Happen" has more in common with post-rock than with most typical score music, while the brief but haunting loops of "Can Things Be Better?" and "Should I Let Her Know?" nod to the folky electronica of artists like Four Tet. The soundtrack's more song-oriented cuts, like War's "Low Rider," Ozomatli's "Cut Chemist Suite," and Ann Sexton's "You're Losing Me," provide a jolting contrast to Santaolalla's atmospheric score, perhaps reflecting the film's often jarring juxtapositions of life and death. The only track on 21 Grams that succumbs to pretension is "Shake, Rattle & Roll," a lengthy, spoken-word version of the R&B classic performed by Benicio Del Toro. At first, the song is gritty and creepy, but eventually it devolves into self-parody. Still, the overall quality of the album -- particularly on "When Our Wings Are Cut, Can We Still Fly" by the Kronos Quartet -- more than makes up for its occasional awkward moments, which do little do detract from the score's quiet power.

Product Details

Release Date: 12/09/2003
Label: Varese Sarabande
UPC: 0030206652727
catalogNumber: 066527

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Gustavo Santaolalla   Primary Artist,Guitar,Percussion,Violin,Harmonium,Pipe,Vibes,Track Performer,Ronroco
Kronos Quartet and Trio Da Kali   Track Performer
Hank Dutt   Group Member
David Harrington   Group Member
John Sherba   Group Member
Jorge "Coco" Trivisonno   Bandoneon
Ann Sexton   Track Performer
Jennifer Culp   Group Member
Ozomatli   Track Performer
Michael Burr   Double Bass
Javier Casalla   Violin
Benicio Del Toro   Vocals
Sebastian Escofet   Loops
Danny Huston   Track Performer

Technical Credits

Mike Morgan   Composer
Lee Oskar   Composer
Lonnie Jordan   Composer
Harold Brown   Composer
Leslie Ann Jones   Engineer
Anibal Kerpel   Engineer
Gustavo Santaolalla   Composer,Producer
Howard Scott   Composer
Robert Townson   Executive Producer
Charles Miller   Composer
Ann Sexton   Composer
Charles Stewart   Composer
Kathy Nelson   Executive Producer
Ulises Bella   Composer
James Lott   Engineer
Morris Dickerson   Composer
Sylvester Allen   Composer
William Marrufo   Composer
Justin "El Niño" Porée   Composer
Gerald Goldstein   Composer
Charles E. Calhoun   Composer
Sebastian Escofet   Remixing
Osvaldo Golijov   Arranger
Alejandro González Iñárritu   Producer,Liner Notes

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