Album Review: Danger Mouse & Daniele Luppi
The duo’s impeccably crafted Italian homage, featuring Jack White
While there’s no doubting the sheer cinematic brilliance of Sergio Leone’s The Good, The Bad And The Ugly, when it comes to cult Italian cowboy movies, the cool kids have always had a thing for Django, Sergio Corbucci’s 1966 gory revenge epic, which features a hell-bound anti-hero dispatching colossal numbers of Mexican bandits with a machine gun which he drags into town in a coffin. The film has been a rich source of inspiration to everyone from Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry to Quentin Tarantino. Now you can add [a]Danger Mouse[/a] to that list.
When working with Italian composer Daniele Luppi on [b]‘Dark Night Of The Soul’[/b] and [a]Broken Bells[/a]’ debut, the pair realised that they shared a love for the emotionally resonant score for the film created by Luis Bacalov, as well as the peerless orchestral work of Ennio Morricone.
They embarked on a grand homage to this golden age of Italian pop and movie music in 2006, finishing only recently; if the sumptuous sound of [b]‘Rome’[/b] is pristine in every detail then there should be little surprise – the pair recorded in the cavernous Ortophonic Studios in the catacombs of a neo-classical church in Rome and tempted Morricone’s septuagenarian Marc 4 band and Alessandro Alessandroni’s I Cantori Moderni choir out of retirement.
Stylistically, the biggest gamble is the inclusion of [a]Jack White[/a] and [a]Norah Jones[/a] as guest vocalists – but it has paid off handsomely. White turns in his best post-[b]‘Elephant’[/b] singing on [b]‘Two Against One’[/b] and Jones acquires a new grandeur on tracks such as [b]‘Black’[/b]. Hopefully, listeners who have had their tastes whetted by [a]Cat’s Eyes[/a] and the cult Italian [b]‘Beat At Cinecittà’[/b] compilations will fall in love with this entrancing and gorgeously out-of-step album.