Friday, July 1, 2011

"Rome, Italian Style" Track of the Day: Danger Mouse & Daniele Luppi, "Theme of Rome"

Rome, if you want to.
This is the first in a series of weekday posts about the tracks that are streamed during A Fistful of Soundtracks' "Rome, Italian Style" block. From today until July 29, each post will give some background on a different track from the block's playlist (and maybe even include a music video that the artist made for the track). "Rome, Italian Style" airs Mondays through Thursdays at 11am on AFOS.

Not to be confused with the HBO sword-and-mandals show Rome, producers Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi's new Capitol Records release Rome is a concept album inspired by swanky '60s and '70s Italian film scores that were penned by the ingenious likes of Riz Ortolani and Ennio Morricone ("Back in the early '60s, more experimental composition was looked down on, so the movies were a great vehicle to get away with doing all that," said Danger Mouse in a 2010 Guardian article about the making of Rome). The "Rome, Italian Style" playlist was built around the tracks from Rome, but because nine tracks aren't enough to fill a four-day-a-week, one-hour-per-day block, the playlist includes other songs that were influenced by the sounds of '60s and '70s Italian composers or their British and American counterparts (like John Barry and Henry Mancini), as well as covers of themes that Ortolani, Morricone, Barry, Mancini and others wrote during that era.

This is also what Don Draper's lungs look like.
Song: "Theme of Rome" by Danger Mouse & Daniele Luppi featuring Edda Dell'Orso
Released: 2011
Why's it part of the "Rome, Italian Style" playlist?: During the recording of Rome, Danger Mouse and Luppi enlisted several musicians and singers who took part in many of the vintage Italian scores that influenced the project. One of these artists is singer Edda Dell'Orso, whose voice can be heard during Morricone's scores from Once Upon a Time in the West, Duck, You Sucker, Danger: Diabolik, a giallo called The Fifth Cord and Maddalena. Her wordless vocals grace "Theme of Rome," the album's opening track.

Dell'Orso's voice was like a guide through the surreal aural world of Morricone, and it acts as a guide once again as we enter the dark and melancholy Italian movie that Danger Mouse and Luppi have created with just their imaginary soundtrack and without any visuals. I have no idea what language Dell'Orso was singing in during those old Morricone cues (it's a language only she understands--Dell'Orso-ese?), but her voice during "Come Maddalena" is so reassuring and calming that I bet she was singing "And we're walking, we're walking."

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