The dizzyingly prolific musician/producer Danger Mouse (Brian Burton) of Gnarls Barkley fame in one interview named film directors as his predominant artistic role models.
Appropriately, his newest album, Rome, is an homage to the classic spaghetti Western film soundtracks of Ennio Morricone. The record is a collaboration with Italian composer Daniele Luppi and features contributions from Norah Jones and Jack White. Amazingly, the project also involved the resuscitation of a number of the septuagenarian musicians who had worked on the original soundtracks of movies like The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly, and Once Upon a Time in the West.
Burton and Luppi worked hard to achieve acoustic authenticity over the five years they worked on this album, eschewing computer-aided equipment and instead recording live and straight to tape as it was done in the 1960s and 70s. This from the press release:
They booked time in Rome’s cavernous Forum Studios – formerly Ortophonic Studios, founded, amongst others, by the great Ennio Morricone. Burton and Luppi scoured the city for vintage equipment, using bottles of wine as payment.
“The studio was a beautiful thing,” says Luppi. “It sits underneath a neo-classical church and is carved out of an ancient catacomb. The space is huge. It has an echo chamber and a room full of vintage tapes. The vibe is really inspiring.”
The dusty, wind-swept, sepia-toned sound of some tracks is reminiscent of Danger Mouse’s 2010 collab record Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse Present: Dark Night of the Soul, also on Capitol. Others are melodramatic orchestral panoramas, cinematic Grand Canyon sunsets.
Listen to sample tracks from Rome here.
See the track listing for Rome, out March 2011 on Capitol Records, below.
1. “Theme Of Rome”
2. “The Rose With The Broken Neck”
3. “Morning Fog (interlude)”
4. “Season’s Trees”
5. “Her Hollow Ways (interlude)”
6. “Roman Blue”
7. “Two Against One”
8. “The Gambling Priest”
9. “The World (interlude)”
11. “The Matador Has Fallen”
12. “Morning Fog”
13. “Problem Queen”
14. “Her Hollow Ways”
15. “The World”