Since Danger Mouse first emerged in 2004 with The Grey Album, his mash-up of the Beatles and Jay-Z, he's collaborated with Gorillaz, Beck, the Rapture and Sparklehorse, among others. He formed Gnarls Barkley with rapper/singer Cee-Lo Green and Broken Bells with Shins singer/songwriter James Mercer. Most recently, he was reported to be in the studio with U2. It turns out that Danger Mouse (a.k.a. Brian Burton) has yet another project in the works, one that was kept secret until it was reported in the Guardian earlier today: a collaboration with Italian composer Daniele Luppi called Rome.
The group, which has been in the works for five years, was inspired by the pair's love for 1960s Italian film soundtracks. Recorded at Rome's Forum Studios, the album features loads of vintage equipment and cameos from musicians who worked on film scores of the era, as well as guest spots from Jack White (who, of course, appears on the premiere of Conan O'Brien's new show tonight) and Norah Jones.
"We met around 2004," Luppi recalled. "Brian had just done The Grey Album and I had done a record called The Italian Story, which was basically my homage to Italian film soundtracks. I am not really a hip-hop fan, but I loved The Grey Album? — Brian is able to combine the charm and beauty of old instruments with something contemporary. We had both talked about each other's work in the press, and it turned out we had a friend in common who introduced us."
"He came over to my place one day and saw my collection of old Italian film music," Burton continued. "He knows about all of this stuff, but I think he was impressed I had so much. He started helping me with some arrangements on the first Gnarls Barkley record, and we just became friends."
And although the project has been kept under wraps for years, Burton says he can hear traces of it in everything he's done since work on the album began. "Rome seems to have fed into everything I've done? — you can hear it in a lot of Gnarls Barkley, it's all over Broken Bells too. I get a lot of offers to do film soundtracks and I've never said yes, because no one has heard this yet, and I think some people still think of me as a hip-hop producer. But this is what I would actually do, if I were to make a soundtrack. I'm really happy it's out. I just hope it's not going to take five years to do the next one."
Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi: How We built Rome [The Guardian]