Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi: Rome (Capitol)

From meshing Jay-Z with The Beatles, to going bat-sh!t crazy with Cee Lo Green, to collaborative masterpieces with James Mercer of The Shins and the late Sparklehorse, the prolific  Brian Burton aka Danger Mouse has become a modern day DIY icon. He pisses on record label contracts by releasing blank CDs and telling people to download his album for free while being one of the most sought after producers of this decade having worked with indie supastars such as Gorillaz, Beck and The Black Keys. So what’s he gonna do next?

Well, the American producer is in his collaborative mode once again, this time with Italian composer Daniele Luppi. Together, they pay homage to ’60s spaghetti westerns with their highly anticipated album which took more than 5 years to make. Teaming up with musicians of the original Ennio Morricone scores, the reunited Cantori Moderni choir, and the modern vocals of swampman Jack White and songbird Norah Jones, Rome was recorded using vintage equipments in Ortophonic Studio. To add a touch of authentic mysticism, the studio itself was co-founded by Ennio Morricone (the Italian master of cinematic scores) and located in the catacombs of a neo-classical church in Rome.

The album begins with ‘Theme of Rome’ which is best described as the score of a classic Western film’s opening scene thanks to Edda Dell’Orso’s operatic vocals (you might’ve heard her before in Clint Eastwood’s The Good, The  Bad, and The Ugly). Jack White’s creaking vocals and the choir’s moans suit surprisingly well with the mood of the album, evident in tracks like ‘The Rose with the Broken Neck’, ‘Two Against One’ and ‘The World’ while Norah Jones reminds us that she won 10 Grammys for a reason with ‘Season’s Trees’, ‘Black’ and ‘Problem Queen’.

The instrumentals here aren’t just in the album to back up the contemporary voices of Jack White and Norah Jones. Tracks such as ‘The Matador Has Fallen’ and ‘The Gambling Priest’ upstage Jack and Norah’s vocals thanks to soaring string arrangements and a harmonious veteran choir. Lastly, the closing song of the album titled ‘The World’ conjures up mental images of ending credits to a film.

In short, Rome is a beautiful blend of modernity and classical score for a film that never existed, and probably never will.

LISTEN TO: ‘Theme of Rome’, ‘Two Against One’, ‘Problem Queen’.
IF YOU LIKE THIS YOU’LL DIG: Danger Mouse & Sparklehorse pres. Dark Night of the Soul, Mercury Rev, Cat’s Eyes, Anna Calvi.

Rome wasn’t built in a day, but you can check it out now at www.romealbum.com or listen to the link below