Whilst the motion picture soundtrack for Babel features songs by many different artists, the score for the film was composed by one man: acclaimed Argentine musician and composer Gustavo Santaolalla. The combined score and soundtrack to Babel comprise two discs of "music from and inspired by the motion picture," a collection that deftly binds Santaolalla's poignant aural meditations with a glue of contemporary pop musings spanning from Tijuana to Japan.

Gustavo Santaolalla's score for Babel has been described by critics as hypnotic and meditative, contrasting with the hauntingly tragic plot and themes of the film. With titles like "Breathing Soul," "The Blinding Sun," "Two Worlds, One Heart," "Morning Pray," and The Skin Of The Earth," it's clear these introspective and consciousness-expanding effects on the listener were precisely as intended. Although a South American composer, Santaolalla describes a rich North African musical landscape to back the film, juxtaposing indigenous Arabian string instruments with field recordings of the tribal music of Morocco.

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The score for Babel earned Santaolalla one of his two Academy Awards for Best Original Score, the other being for 2005's Brokeback Mountain. Santaolalla also composed the score for Babel director Alejandro González Iñárritu's 21 Grams and Amores Perros, considered two parts of a trilogy of which Babel is the third and final. In addition to the Best Score Oscar, the music to Babel won Santaolalla the BAFTA Award for Best Film Music and a nomination for the Best Original Score Golden Globe Award. The two-disc soundtrack for the film, meanwhile, was nominated for a 2008 Grammy Award.

Santaolalla's "Deportation," often considered the unofficial theme of the film, combines with a track called "Iguazu" which, interestingly enough, the composer had previously used in several other venues, including the Michael Mann films "The Insider" and "Collateral," the HBO series Deadwood and an '07 Vodafone television commercial.

The pronounced Japanese influences in the collection are exemplified by Ryuichi Sakamoto's "Only Love Can Conquer Hate" and Susumu Yolota's "Gekkoh," both of which echo with the dueling sorrow of things lost and the anticipation of things to come. The Norteño influences from the likes of Daniel Luna, Los Incomparables and Los Tucanes De Tijuana then burst through like a hearty serving of authentic spicy Mexican seasoning added to give the contemplative score some of its bite. Bridging the two tonal worlds is Chavela Vargas crooning a savory torch melody called "Tu Me Acostumbraste," one which will call out any lovers' passion and reignite their hunger. Then, when from the other side of the border Amadeo Pace sings his brooding counterpoint, "World Citizen," he carries the pain of the world and its yearning for connection in his cry.

As modern as it is authentically indigenous, the Babel soundtrack album also features a lively sampling of pop, most notably, perhaps, a mash-up of Earth, Wind and Fire's timeless Motown hit "September" with Fatboy Slim's driving rendition of the Steve Miller Band's classic, "The Joker." Equally exhilarating is Japanese pop star Takashi Fujii's infectious club hit "Oh My Juliet!" Then there's the ska/reggae fusion of La Blanquito's "Cumbia Sobre El Rio" and the catchy melodic hip-hop of Rip Slyme's "Masterpiece."

This diverse collection of disparate music sewn together by Santaolalla's score and Iñárritu's story closes with another Ryuichi Sakamoto track, this the simple but captivating "Bibo no Aozora/04," a slow and sombre but sultry dance between piano and cello.

In the Bible story of Babel, the Lord punishes the people who deigned to cheat their way to heaven by causing them all to speak a different language from one another. While in Alejandro González Iñárritu's film, like in the ancient story, this disconnect leads to tragic consequences, in the music to Babel the disparity in voices weaves a seamless tapestry of unity in a single language that is at once harmoniously dissonant and dissonantly harmonious.