This alien left-field collaboration between American producer Danger Mouse and Italian composer Daniele Luppi is a delicious slice of exotica, a compact 35:05, mostly instrumental, inspired by Ennio Morricone’s music to Sergio Leone’s 1960s westerns: haunting, evocative, strikingly dramatic, yet using two lead voices: Norah Jones and Jack White.
With its James Bond guitar, and creative arrangement, production and composition by Mouse and Luppi, Rome could be a movie but isn’t. It’s merely a pleasant soundscape diversion and, as such, works beautifully.
The Jones and White tracks are perfect pop constructs, as applicable to Top 40 radio as they are to background music in an opium den. Jones, of course, is lush and sensual. White is his jittery, eccentric self, all tics and jumpy charm. It all works so well that I dare say this is the kind of record you want to put on when company is coming if you want to totally impress! Catchy, memorable, different-as-hell, you’ll find yourself going back to it time and time again.
The faint traces of a chorale inform the instrumentals giving them a gravitas that bespeaks modernity yet classicism. The whole project has its roots in previous such projects by Frank Zappa and Brian Eno.
In A Word: Moody