The Darjeeling Limited – Original Soundtrack – Abkco 187718300-1 – green vinyl [5/19/15] ***:

Sort of surprising that an audiophile pressing – on green vinyl yet – would be reissued as the soundtrack of one of the least successful films by the great director Wes Anderson. Perhaps it’s due to having at the time been No. 1 on Billboard’s top world Album Chart, and the fourth top-selling world music album in 2008.  But although the film is incredibly weird (and so is the soundtrack album) even on a bad day Anderson is often better than most other directors. It’s a double-fold album with lots of shots from the film inside, but no other notes except a short statement from Anderson on the back.

The three brothers having a series of travel mishaps in India are played by Owen Wilson (with a strange bandage around his head and ears), Adrien Brody and Jason Schwartzman. The music is mostly East Indian-related stuff, since Anderson says in his notes that he loves the soundtracks of Satyajit Ray and James Ivory movies. He is also a fan of the movies of Louis Malle and especially Jean Renoir’s first color film, The River (one of my favorites too).

There is title music from both Ray and Ivory films, and most of the Indian music is from films, not delving into Indian rock, blues or some of the weird combinations coming out of that country lately. But there are also three tracks by The Kinks, “Play With Fire” by The Rolling Stones, and would you believe the entire Allegro con brio movement from Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony, performed by Fritz Reiner and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra? The first side of the LP ends with pianist Alexis Weissenberg playing Debussy’s “Clair de Lune”.  See what I mean about weird?

Sonics are great (the green vinyl doesn’t seem to add surface noise), but frankly I think the movie was enough; I’m not sorry I saw it because Wes Anderson is always great, but as I said it’s not one of his best.

—John Sunier