As previously reported here, famed musician and producer Danger Mouse (a.k.a Brian Burton) has been working on a project with Italian composer Daniele Luppi and American everything Jack White. Good news: Norah Jones also got involved. Even better news: after nearly a half decade of excruciating work, the project, entitled ROME, has been completed and mixed. The bad news: you will have to wait until March for ROME‘s release on Capitol Records. But read on for more details.
Unlike many other modern music projects, ROME was designed to pass the test of time. With perfectionist and passionate producers insisting that every second and detail be as authentic as possible, and with the likes of Jack White and Norah Jones lending their artistic ability, ROME promises to be something special.
When Burton and Luppi met in L.A. in 2004, they discovered a shared passion for classic Italian film music. The two decided to work on a project together, and in October of 2006 met in Rome to share song ideas and assemble a team to help them bring their vision to life.
Wanting the project to be as authentic as possible, Burton and Luppi booked time in Rome’s Forum Studios (formerly Orthophonic Studios), which counts amongst its founders the great Italian film composer Ennio Morricone. They also went to great lengths to gather vintage recording equipment from the 60s and 70s and even managed to track down and assemble many of the original musicians from classic Italian films, many of who were in their seventies and hadn’t worked together for decades.
Luppi explains the set up he and Bruton created for recording ROME:
The studio was a beautiful thing. 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.
Satisfied with the technical arrangement, Burton and Luppi set to the task of finding vocalists for the songs they had been working on, three of which were written for a man, and three for a woman. Burton showed White a few of the tracks while on tour with Gnarls Barkley, not thinking anything would come of it. But, of course, he should have known. White ended up lending his voice to “The Rose With The Broken Neck,” “Two Against One” and “The World.” Jones sings a soft counterpoint to White’s more angsty performances, lending her voice to “Season’s Trees”, “Black” and “Problem Queen.”