Monday, November 29, 2010
DANGER MOUSE, SPARKLEHORSE & DAVID LYNCH: DARK NIGHT OF THE SOUL
CAPITOL RECORDS (EMI)
Danger Mouse! No one's raged as hard against EMI since the Sex Pistols. First, they tried to squash his 2004 art project The Grey Album - a mash-up of Jay-Z's Black Album and The Beatles' White Album. Then, in 2009, due to undisclosed legal reasons, EMI choked Dark Night of the Soul, Danger Mouse's latest collaborative project, this time with Mark Linkous (aka Sparklehorse), David Lynch and whoever else would return their calls.
At first, Danger Mouse released the album's "visual narrative" - a booklet of photos by David Lynch - with a blank CD-R saying, "For Legal Reasons, enclosed CD-R contains no music. Use it as you will." But now it's officially "out there," released in July on Capitol Records, a subsidiary of EMI. And the only way to describe it is moody, digital blues.
While Cee Lo Green, the other half of Gnarls Barkley, kept himself busy rediscovering his roof-raising gospel and soul roots, Danger Mouse stuck to what he knows best as well: hollowed out, dark, collaborative soundscapes. This time, working with an all-star cast: Wayne Coyne (The Flaming Lips), Julian Casablancas (The Strokes), Iggy Pop, Frank Black (Pixies), Gruff Rhys (Super Furry Animals), James Mercer (The Shins), Jason Lytle (Grandaddy), Suzanne Vega, Nina Persson (The Cardigans), Vic Chesnutt, David Lynch (on spooky vocals and visuals) and Sparklehorse.
What makes Dark Night of the Soul even more sinister and melancholic are the sudden deaths/suicides of Mark Linkous (shot himself in the heart with a shotgun) and Vic Chesnutt (overdosed on muscle relaxants). So it's not just a clever name then...
With such an eclectic assortment of personalities, Dark Night of the Soul is a real combination of flavours. Julian Casablancas' song sounds like a Strokes b-side. Wayne Coyne's sounds like The Flaming Lips. Vic Chesnutt sounds like a man on the edge of reality. And Iggy Pop sounds like Iggy Pop, complete with classic Iggy lines like "Good karma will not get you anywhere, just look at Jesus and his hair." What ties them all together is Danger Mouse's subtle drops of eerie misery. He's like a musical backlight.