Here’s Rome, an imaginary soundtrack featuring Jack White and Norah Jones on a few tracks, and produced by the genre-hopping moniker that is Danger Mouse (Brian Burton) along with Italian film composer, Daniele Luppi. Paying homage to film composer, Ennio Morricone (The Good, The Bad and the Ugly), the spaghetti-western’s sound pioneer, Burton and Luppi draw inspiration from soul and classical music, to create a sexed out spin off version—spaghetti-soul. 15 compositions that barely account for 35 minutes of mysterious, heartbroken and paranoid pleasure are accentuated by scattered guest vocals provided by White and Jones. Each limited by their time involved here provide their best, focused vocal work to date—though they’re not the true stars here.
The true stars are the session players. Burton and Luppi call on that golden era’s sessions players to perform the entirety of this record. Tiny fragments and instrumentals paint a complete picture to an imaginary, western, romantic love story; and as a result, becomes a musical tribute to Morricone. While introducing the younger generation to the intoxicating, classical, embrace that is Rome, Burton with Luppi have managed to venture into new territories of sound that listeners should continue to return to. Aspiring bass players should take note of Dario Rosciglione’s performances throughout.
The caustic acoustic tale that is Black sung by Norah Jones starts off like a distant nightmare straight out of The Eagles’ epic disaster that is Hotel California- and slips away quickly into something dreamlike. It ends all too quickly like the Morning Fog, an instrumental towards the end of Rome, that starts the slow ride out of town and eventually ends with the Jack White penned outro,The World.
Rome will serve as Luppi’s classical introduction to an American pop culture landscape that Danger Mouse continues to venture within and around musically, proving why he’s one of modern day music’s most important collaborators. For Jack White and and Norah Jones fans, this isn’t their show; but they make this listen a side gig worth revisiting. Their limited performances, along with Luppi & Burton’s production, prove that the session players are the true stars here.