Danger Mouse & Daniele Luppi, "Rome"

82 Billboard Rating

Brian "Danger Mouse" Burton certainly has a knack for getting himself into interesting musical projects-and given his track record, interesting is a gross understatement. But "Rome" stands out even alongside the likes of Gnarls Barkley, "Dark Night of the Soul" and Broken Bells. Written and produced with composer/arranger Daniele Luppi, the 15-track set is an homage to such forms as Italian film music and spaghetti westerns. It's made all the more authentic with musicians who played on Ennio Morricone scores-the Marc 4 band and the reunited I Cantori Moderni chorale, whose wordless vocals add an appropriately cinematic texture and soulful ambience. Additionally, Jack White and Norah Jones sing on (and in White's case wrote lyrics for) three tracks each; White is featured on "The Rose With a Broken Neck," "Two Against One" and "The World," while Jones appears on "Season's Trees," "Problem Queen" and "Black." Some of those tracks rank with their best career work to date. Burton and Luppi even brought in a "visual director" for the project (Chris Milk), but their sonics create a rare brand of aural pictures that require no enhancement.

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