It was poised to be one of the coolest, most unusual albums in a short history of great collaborations: producer [artist id=”1244761″]Danger Mouse[/artist] working with experimental rockers [artist id=”150″]Sparklehorse[/artist] and filmmaker [movieperson id=”88802″]David Lynch[/movieperson] for an album titled Dark Night of the Soul, featuring guest spots from the [artist id=”1070″]Flaming Lips[/artist], [artist id=”1165302″]the Strokes[/artist]’ Julian Casablancas, [artist id=”1086″]Iggy Pop[/artist], [artist id=”325″]the Pixies[/artist]’ Frank Black, the [artist id=”1163811″]Shins[/artist]’ James Mercer and a handful of others.
And then the business got in the way. According to reports, EMI Music blocked the release of the album, due out in July, over a contractual dispute. (A spokesperson for EMI could not be reached for comment at press time.) TheTripwire.com reported that Danger Mouse, who made his name producing the widely bootlegged The Grey Album, did what any forward-thinking, former renegade mash-up artist would do: He decided to release the album as a blank disc.
“Danger Mouse’s new project, Dark Night of the Soul consists of an album-length piece of music by Danger Mouse, Sparklehorse and a host of guest vocalists, along with a collection of original David Lynch photography inspired by and based on the music,” a spokesperson for Danger Mouse told MTV News in a statement. “The photographs, which provide a visual narrative for the music, are compiled in a limited-edition, hand-numbered 100+ page book, which will now come with a blank, recordable CD-R. All copies will be clearly labeled: ’For Legal Reasons, enclosed CD-R contains no music. Use it as you will.’ ”
Movie-style posters hyping the project popped up all over Austin during this year’s South by Southwest festival, building anticipation for the long-in-the-works project. But the source told Tripwire that due to an unspecified ongoing dispute with EMI, Danger Mouse could not release the music he recorded for the album without facing the possibility of being sued by the label. “Danger Mouse remains hugely proud of Dark Night of the Soul and hopes that people lucky enough to hear the music, by whatever means, are as excited by it as he is.”
Translation? Songs from the album, which started leaking on May 7, can pretty readily be found online for download by intrepid fans. A spokesperson for Danger Mouse could not be reached for comment at press time.