Monday, July 19, 2010

Dark Night of the Soul (Album)

Talk about a super group.

First there’s überproducer Danger Mouse. He’s one-half of Gnarles Barkley and rose to fame after the release of his epic The Grey Album. Then there’s Mark Linkous. His critically-acclaimed Sparklehorse project was known for its somber subject matter. Sadly, he committed suicide in March of 2010. Finally we have David Lynch. Yes the David Lynch, who directed such classic films as The Elephant Man, Blue Velvet, and Mullholand Drive.
What are these three doing collaborating on an album together?

Story has it that whilst Danger Mouse was working on producing Linkous’ 2006 album Dreamt for Light Years in the Belly of a Mountain, an idea formed for an even more in-depth collaboration. Apparently Linkous had a few original songs in his catalogue that he didn’t feel comfortable singing. Mouse suggested that he commission others to sing on the tracks, and the project was born. Mouse and Linkous employed a number of indie greats to contribute to the tracks, including Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips; Julian Casablancas of the Strokes; James Mercer of the Shins; and Scott Spillane of Neutral Milk Hotel, to name a few. Each artist was given a considerable amount of interpretive wiggle room, and their respective individual sounds are all present on the album. As no concept album is complete without corresponding artwork, Danger Mouse called up Lynch and asked if he would take a series of photographs that helped to visually convey the albums overarching themes of pain, loss, longing, and dreams. Lynch said yes, and contributed more than a hundred photos to the project. He also loaned his vocals to two different tracks on the album—the first time he’s ever recorded for commercial publication.

Speaking of commercial publication. The final product, an album/visual booklet compilation entitled Dark Night of the Soul, was supposed to be released in 2009, but due to a messy distribution dispute with EMI Records, it looked as though it might never see the light of day. In May 2009 the team released Lynch’s photography booklet for sale on their website, but the songs were still unavailable for purchase. Gradually they were released and distributed via peer-to-peer websites and music blogs, but it wasn’t until early 2010 that distribution dispute was settled, and the album was given the green light. Just a week ago, on July 13th 2010, it was finally released in full, complete with the visual booklet of Lynch’s photographs.

The following 3 songs are my favorite from the album.
I’d say more about them, but this post is already way too long. I think it goes without saying, they’re all excellent. To reiterate, Dark Night of the Soul is a collaboration between David Lynch, Danger Mouse, (the late) Sparklehorse, and the reigning kings and queens of indie rock…So really, how couldn’t they be?

Right-click to download.

Little Girl (feat. Julian Casablancas) Julian is the lead singer of the Strokes

Everytime I’m With You (feat. Jason Lytle) Jason headed the band Grandaddy

The Man Who Played God (feat. Suzanne Vega)

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