Under Review: Danger Mouse & Daniele Luppi – Rome

More people should listen to film music. There’s so much to discover within the evocative layers of a good dramatic score. Some of the most (rightfully) celebrated scores were those done by Ennio Morricone, whose compositions famously accompanied the silver screen grit of Sergio Leone’s ‘spaghetti westerns.’ These soundtracks were expertly crafted combinations of romance and menace, and have influenced countless musicians and producers in the decades since their original releases. Several of these creative types have united to create Rome, an album that plays like a companion to a nonexistent film. The two primary forces behind Rome are Italian composer Daniele Luppi and American producer Brian “Danger Mouse” Burton. Luppi and Burton, both extremely well versed in the classic era of Italian western film music, have created Rome as a gorgeously modern spin on antiquated styles.

Many of Rome’s segments are either instrumental or feature wordless vocals from the Cantori Moderni, a choral group established by Alessandro Alessandroni, a frequent collaborator of Morricone’s. Spooky interludes like “Morning Fog” and “Her Hollow Ways” could be considered the character themes, while pieces like “The Matador Has Fallen” serve as thrilling climaxes. Six tracks on Rome are more traditionally sung, with Jack White and Norah Jones taking three songs each. “Two Against One” is a paranoid existential meditation that uses White’s hushed voice to create a sense of pre-shootout dread. The eerie “Problem Queen” finds Jones getting a bit torchy, and the airy “Black” is about as close to playful as Rome gets. More than the songs themselves, Rome is about sounds and atmosphere. The vintage equipment used to record the album has served Burton and Luppi well; there’s a dustiness about Rome that gives it an otherworldly feel. While it would be interesting to see a cohesive storyline or visual project come out of Rome, the album is an entertaining diversion into a genre that’s hard to describe but easy to become enveloped in.

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~ by E. on May 18, 2011.

2 Responses to “Under Review: Danger Mouse & Daniele Luppi – Rome”

  1. Such a great, chilling album! Would love to see someone put together a short film to accompany it — I’d watch it!

    • There is an interactive site that accompanies the album: http://www.ro.me/

      I believe it was done by the same guy that did the Arcade Fire’s “We Used To Wait” interactive video. Like that one, this is designed to work best with Google Chrome, so you might have some downloading to do first.

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