Danger Mouse & Daniele Luppi Present Rome.

Brian Burton may have cobbled together many an otherworldly recording, flittering between producing Albarn's Demon Days opus, redefining R'n'B with Gnarls Barkley, and roping in anyone and everyone from Wayne Coyne to Iggy Pop, Nina Persson to James Mercer on the seminal multimedia LP Dark Night Of The Soul, yet drawing up an Original Motion Picture Soundtrack to a non-existent motion picture, in the subterraneous catacombs where much of Morricone's finest work was eternalised, is quite conceivably the paragon of ambition. There's then the small matter of celebrated compositore italiano Daniele Luppi providing luscious orchestral backdrop, and the involvement of both Norah Jones and Jack White, who provide wonderfully contrasting vocals on a slew of quite disparate tracks that meander ingenuously through the emotional silver screen spectrum, reflective of humanity's subtlest tensions and the multifaceted nature of existence itself.

Opening with the hum of analog tapes rolling, instrumentation inherently indebted to Morricone swiftly intervenes, before the timeless trill of Edda Dell'Orso pipes up, your eyes automatically set to await a rugged Eastwood cocooned in poncho, cigarillo dangling from his sun-chapped lips. As Dell'Orso's signature cinematic howl disintegrates, the tumbledown acoustic of The Rose With A Broken Neck rolls on in like tumbleweed bristling across Leone screen, Jack White's layered vocals perfectly imperfect, same as they ever were. The format of Rome is established largely as a rotation through White/interlude/Jones/instrumental with this order swivelled and contorted throughout, the sumptuous highest of hi-fi employed on Season's Trees as Jones' candied vocals bring an air of insouciance to the record atop lavish orchestration redolent of, well, Air. Triumphant Nyman-ish strings unite with choral swells on the segueing interlude, Her Hollow Ways, whilst the instrumental Roman Blue emulates quintessentially Italian suavity consummately. White's layered vocals again sneer snidely atop acoustic guitars bathed in reverb on the significantly less convincing Two Against One, with Luciano Ciccaglioni's atmospheric guitar theatrics somewhat more genuine on The Gambling Priest, as they swirl oneirically around harmonious sighs and shimmering celesta. Jones reappears on the expansive Black, the track unravelling like a season's worth of vibrant Missoni jumpers caught on crawling rose thorns, Morning Fog emerges amidst Broken Bells-era Burton lyriclessness, and closer The World, featuring White's particularly androgynous shriek, could quite aptly soundtrack the hanging of generally mundane contemporary musicality as Luppi and Burton ride off on horseback triumphantly towards a sepia sunset. For Rome represents perhaps the greatest soundtrack written for the best film never made. Ottimo lavoro.