Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Very well mixed

Posted By on Wed, Aug 17, 2005 at 12:00 AM

It’s a sound track, it’s a mixtape. In Jim Jarmusch’s new film Broken Flowers, a neighbor gives Bill Murray’s shiftless main character some music for a road trip, dusky and curious Ethiopian jazz from bandleader Mulatu Astatke. Beautiful as jazz but taken for left and right turns, it sounds vaguely familiar but also foreign and, yes, totally exotic. In other words, it’s the perfect shit for a mix. Jarmusch’s films have always shown the eye of an offhand genius, and he gives the music for Broken Flowers that same feel. A scratchy recording of the Tennors’ rock-steady lope “Ride the Donkey” flows into Marvin Gaye’s “I Want You,” while the Greenhornes collaborate with Holly Golightly for the sashaying Dusty Springfield nod “There is an End,” a song to begin a late-summer mix if there ever was one. (Golightly and the Greenhornes also contribute tracks separately.) Astatke’s nimbly funky “Yegelle Tezeta” is irresistible, and including an excerpt of Sleep’s doom metal juggernaut “Dopesmoker” is the kind of masterstroke only music nerds and white-haired celluloid wildcards make. That “Awesome Mixtape No. 6” you planned on crafting back in June never materialized, did it? Don’t worry. With Broken Flowers, Jarmusch has your back.

Johnny Loftus writes about music for Metro Times. E-mail letters@metrotimes.com.

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