Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi featuring Jack White and Norah Jones – “Rome”
With one of the best alternatives projects “Broken Bells,” ending now, we find (Danger Mouse) Brian Burton on another conceptual project working along with Daniele Luppi. Daniele Luppi is a film music composer, working on films using the older Italian aspects of music such as, “Nine,” and “Hell Ride.” The American Producer Danger Mouse is known for his work ranging from all spectrums of genres, from working with Gorillaz and Cee Lo Green to Sparklehorse and The Black Keys, has this time take a leap towards an even more abstract musical art form.
Having been recorded in the city of Rome, the album “Rome,” is an album which celebrates the sounds of Spaghetti Westerns films with a bit of a modern mix. It was made from, “…the love of vintage Italian soundtracks from the 60’s and 70’s.” The point of the Spaghetti Western was to try and replicate the American Western, but the music was its own masterpiece, mainly fusing the spirit of the American Western with Italian cinema. This is not intended as homage though; this is an old sound with a modern mix, and vocals to accompany the melancholy tracks.
“Rome,” combines the mood from Spaghetti Westerns as well as some of the genius from the composer of, “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly,” and, “Once Upon a Time in the West,” with contributions from Jack White and Norah Jones. The album does not solely consist of Jack and Norah singing but rather their collaborations to a few tracks, as well as particularly deep interludes.
Jack was given the finished instrumental part of all of the songs, and wrote lyrics pertaining to each track, clearly wanting the listener to visualize the music. Though Jack wrote lyrics to every track, not all of them contain lyrics, which allow the listener to visualize a setting and tone in accordance to their mood and perception of the track.
A few of the songs on the album are complimented with Jack White’s vocals which sound similar to his vocal scheme in his White Stripes album, “Get Behind Me Satan,” as well as one song from The Dead Weather, his most recent project. In the song “Old Mary,” by The Dead Weather he tweaks his voice scheme and sound to be a bit more ominous and haunting. He took the sound scheme to this album, which can be clearly heard in, “The Rose with the Broken Neck.”
The psychedelic Italian guitar and echoes of his voice add a haunting and chilling delivery of his lyrics, only to be balanced by a playfully melodic xylophone. Though he did not contribute to this album instrumentally, his voice is what makes the songs he is featured in give the dreamscape rhythm such as in the song, “Two Against One.” It is calm and collective to an extent but delivers the quality that Jack White is known to vocally give to his music. Lyrically it is a bit profound, but it is not anything that intense, since the premises of the songs aren’t about tension but about a soothing and relaxing tone.
Jack and Danger Mouse, this time were looking for that opposite of Jack’s bluesy and ghastly tone, and searching for a soft melodic tone which is comforting and reminiscent. They then placed Norah Jones in the album, hoping she will be the voice of the, “any girl.” The voice of tenderness and surrealism while still maintain the role of any other female singer. She excels in being the voice of tranquility especially in the song, “Black.” Her voice takes the songs a bit further than just an instrumental track, but not to an extent that she steps too much out of her realm of music, and by that I mean that there is still that pop tone with the songs she is in. Norah had neither written any of the music nor lyrics, and was put to just sing, but that suffices as her collaboration to this particular album.
Though trying to fit with the Spaghetti Western style, there are no “twang” or whistling noises’ trying to recreate the older music in “Rome.” This is going beyond that and glorifying the essence of what the music was and using it as a backdrop while making it different. The instruments in this album make the listener visualize different landscapes per track. Having used the actual instruments to recreate this music adds to the feel of the music as well as delivers verbatim the sounds rather than having to recreate them through a computer. There are some tracks which sound similar to each other, but the majority of them are distinctive enough to create a different harmony for the listener.
With these two minds at work, there should be hardly any skepticism to the value of their new collaborated album, “Rome.” Each song has its own sound and in some instances resonates a bit of Broken Bells, but not to an extent that you can label this album as a replica, but rather compliment to the songs. After five years of work on this album, there is a standard that is expected from this album, and it does reach it. Instrumentally, the music is astounding. This album reflects what Danger Mouse is famously known for, his ability to get a sound which is particular and said to be impossible to recreate, and ends up making a great new sound. The album is only about a half hour long, with interludes lasting as little as thirty seconds. There are certain sounds and aspects of music which can only last a minute, but in this album, there was potential for more. Though the interludes are short in length, they deliver a powerful impact on the depth of the album, which is why there is a demand for more.
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