Broken Flowers by Various Artists
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Will this soundtrack do for Ethiopian composer and musician Mulatu Astatke what Titanic
did for Celine Dion? Well...maybe on a much, much smaller scale. Astatke's circle of Western fans has already expanded thanks to the compilation Ethiopiques, Vol. 4: Ethio Jazz & Musique Instrumentale, 1969-¬1974
, and Jim Jarmusch's movie puts his hypnotic instrumentals to great use. This isn't surprising, since Jarmusch is a filmmaker with a natural affinity for music and its use onscreen. Here, a three-minute excerpt from stoner-rock legend Sleep's titanic "Dopesmoker" only offers a sample of the song (it actually lasts an hour) but it still sounds awesome, especially stuck between an Astatke track and Gabriel Fauré's "Requiem, Op. 48 (Pie Jesu)." Garage vets the Greenhornes and Holly Golightly contribute tracks together and separately, while indie-rockers Brian Jonestown Massacre's "Not If You Were the Last Dandy on Earth" (an answer song to the Dandy Warhols' "Not If You Were the Last Junkie on Earth") sounds as bilious now as it did in 1997. This is a rare case of a soundtrack that pulls together a broad range of artists yet remains oddly consistent--no doubt because it was assembled by a director with vision instead of a focus group. --Elisabeth Vincentelli