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The films of Wes Anderson are known for their idiosyncratic quirks: saturated pastel colour schemes, a penchant for symmetry, excessive use of Futura typeface, a rotating cast of actors, and a real low-fi aesthetic. The music of this Andersonian world plays as much part as any of the aforementioned quirks in tying everything neatly together. Anderson, like Quentin Tarantino, seems to really dig to find the perfect track to fit the mood of a scene perfectly. You can just imagine him alongside his music supervisor, Randall Poster (who recently put together the brilliant Wolf of Wall Street soundtrack), digging through crates and crates of records to find the perfect 12" (because, come on, we know Wes would only deal in vinyl); their Holy Grail. Every single Wes Anderson film has had a stand-out musical moment, if not more than one. Max and Rosemary dancing to The Faces' 'Ooh La La' at the end of Rushmore, Margot stepping off the bus to Nico's 'These Days', or (my personal favourite) Steve Zissou and his crew finally coming face to face with the Jaguar Shark to Sigur Ros' 'Staralfur'; the sounds of the scene are just as important as any of the aesthetics or acting going on on-screen.

The Grand Budapest Hotel, Anderson's latest film, is a bit of a departure for the director musically as it is the first Anderson film to use more original music than his usual array of a vinyl collector's dream. While the rest of Anderson's films are set primarily in a post-war American (but also taking a little trip over to England in Fantastic Mr Fox), The Grand Budapest Hotel is unique in a) being set before World War 2 and b) being set in a fictional part of Central Europe. This means that the usual crate digging wasn't going to do the trick, unless you were really lucky and found a stupidly obscure Hungarian folk singer but, even then, it wouldn't manage to blend with the myriad of styles on display in The Grand Budapest Hotel. So instead of the embarrassment of pop music riches we usually get, Anderson and Poster have teamed up once again with Alexandre Desplat to create a score that would send any fan of continental European music into a tizzy.

The soundtrack is a wonderful mesh of high and low European musical culture, while still containing that Anderson and Desplat charm that worked so well on their previous projects together, Fantastic Mr Fox and Moonrise Kingdom. Styles inspired by Austrian, German, Polish, and Italian composers, including an appearance from Vivaldi himself with his 'Concerto for Lute and Plucked Strings', sit alongside those influenced by German beer hall songs, gypsy music, Russian military marches, and alpine music extremely well. There are sounds, themes, and instruments that, outside of this soundtrack, you would be unlikely to see together divided by either national boundaries or a rigid social class structure. It almost feels as though they are chucking balalaikas, alpine horns, zithers, and cimbaloms against the wall to see what sticks, but in the best way possible.

After a bright and cheery first quarter, filled with harps and balalaikas gently plucking away to create a light score that brings to mind innocently gambolling through beautiful crisp white snow on some undisclosed mountain range, things suddenly take an ominous turn. The harps, recorders, and alpine horns are replaced by militaristic percussion, led by the booming sound of the Anderson/Desplat favourite, the timpani, as the brush on the snare drum kicks up the steam billowing from 'The Daylight Express to Lutz'. Dark church organs, Phantom of the Opera style, round out 'The Last Will and Testament' in a suitably haunting way. The second half of the album also sees the introduction of the London Voices, an all-male choir that, from 'J.G. Jopling, Private Inquiry Agent', adds another layer of weight and seriousness to the score. As things start to get more serious, percussion takes centre stage, be that bells, hand claps, or the military march drums.

The Grand Budapest Hotel's score is a goody bag of styles and instruments, mixing together the highbrow and low brow musical cultures that you wouldn't ordinarily see together to create something exciting and unique. Subtle changes and introductions of new instruments manage to change the tone of a theme in a spectacular way; what was once, one song ago, a nice happy theme is suddenly given a real malevolence. Alexandre Desplat is a hard man to pin down; none of his soundtracks ever sound anything like the other but are all stand out scores. The fact his next score is going to be set to the remake of Godzilla shows just how wildly diverse Desplat can be yet, even if he is venturing into some new territory as with trying to capture that pre-war Central European feel as seen in The Grand Budapest Hotel, he does it with great aplomb to create something that works perfectly and fits beautifully within that Andersonian aesthetic.