My backyard (Griffith Park) was ablaze last night and my ‘hood lost power for ten hours. Thankfully my laptop was powered up, and I had this collections in my iTunes.
The two Ethiopiques volumes I own, volumes III & IV, have been my go-to music the past few months around the house. Volume IV has especially been present of late, as it’s an instrumental only affair spanning the years of 1969-1974.
Like many people I first caught wind of this series in 2004 via the use of three of it’s tracks in the Jim Jarmusch film Broken Flowers. Jarmusch has long used music in his films to color and set the tone (see: the RZA’s urban score in 2000’s Ghost Dog: The Way of The Samurai, and Neil Young’s score to 1996’s neo-western Dead Man), and the Ethiopiques selections in Broken Flowers were no exception creating the dizzying out-of-place atmosphere of Bill Murray’s character.
Rooted in American jazz and funk with an distinct Ethio bent, this collection of instrumentals, even without the Broken Flowers nod, seems perfectly curated for film work. If any music supervisors are reading this and happen to be looking for music to back a funky, noir-ish crime drama — a la Elmore Leonard — you need look no further.