5 min read

Dark Night of the Soul

Notice: the text of this post in the gray, blockquote area was taken from the website Look Into My Owl, and I forgot to attribute it to them. The reason I used a blockquote was to signify that it was a direct quote, and that it wasn’t mine, but I didn’t say it wasn’t, and didn’t put a link to the original work as I usually do. It was an oversight on my part, and I regret it.

The more I try to hurt you, the more it hurts me

Ah, just another line that revolves in my head after repeated listenings of the amazing ‘Dark Night Of The Soul’, the Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse (Mark Linkous) musical collaboration with David Lynch.

It took me a few full listens, to get over my pre-conceived notions of this opus.  See, while it was a musical/art project/book of David Lynch's, due to a dispute between [Danger Mouse](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Danger_Mouse) and the record company, EMI, it has yet to be released.  Additionally, as if the pairing of Danger Mouse, Sparklehorse and David Lynch wouldn't draw enough attention from a starving music public, the album also features James Mercer (The Shins), The Flaming Lips, Gruff Rhys (Super Furry Animals), Jason Lytle (Grandaddy), Julian Casablancas (The Strokes), Frank Black (the Pixies), Iggy Pop, Nina Persson (The Cardigans), Suzanne Vega, Vic Chesnutt, Scott Spillane (Neutral Milk Hotel, The Gerbils) along with David Lynch, singing.

I woke up and my yesterdays were gone

The offical wording from the Danger Mouse camp says, “Due to an ongoing dispute with EMI, Danger Mouse is unable to release the recorded music for Dark Night Of The Soul without fear of being sued by EMI. __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,” seems to give at least nod and a wink to piracy of the music, something Danger Mouse encouraged years ago when his release of The Grey Album was halted.  So while it’s very cool that an artist that has found financial success with the chart topping Gnarls Barkley, can continue to put out music that challenges, it’s also a sad reminder of what intellectual property is treated like; a commodity.  Is it piracy if the artist themselves instructed you to downloadload it “by whatever” means?  To me, a record of this importance shouldn’t have to resort to these tactics, but when it’s all about the benjamins…

jacob it’s time again to wake up and accept your awards


Image from Look Into My Owl

So while EMI has refused to release the music, David Lynch was clear to his release his book/art project, which he did as planned, but with a blank CDR included.  “_A limited edition book of Lynch’s visuals for the album has been released and is available here. Due to an ongoing dispute with a record company, , Dark Night of the Soul, 30 June – 11 July 2009 Michael Kohn Gallery, Los Angeles.

_From the site _LOOK INTO MY OWL: Fifty of Lynch’s photographs were mounted on aluminum and displayed in small groups throughout the two room exhibition. The pieces are untitled but make reference to tracks from the album “Dark Night of the Soul” that Danger Mouse mixed with the pop band Sparklehorse. The album will be playing in the gallery for the duration of the show.

The bulk of the action in the imagery is centralized within the composition. This bespeaks a significant difference between Lynch’s still and moving images. Lynch refers to still photography in his films when the scene breaks down into a solitary focus with spectral sounds. The prints in this exhibit along with the background music evoke the sensation of his films while maintaining a presence all their own.

A limited edition book of Lynch’s visuals for the album has been released and is available. Due to an ongoing dispute with a record company, the music that Danger Mouse produced has not been released. In place of the album, the book is supplemented with a recordable compact disc. Each copy of the book is clearly labelled, “For legal reasons, enclosed CD-R contains no music. Use it as you will.”

So Lynch’s photos were on display in the gallery, and all made direct references to the music, with the soundtrack of the record playing as the compliment…what a way to experience both.

the last survivor crawling through the dust


Image from Look Into My Owl

As with other critics darling releases, there’s a ton being written about the music right now.  Uber-stereogeek site Stereophile covered the album in great detail, and was then listed as their Recording of the Month, for August 2009.  Spin took time out to give a track by track breakdown, helping listeners to understand who was responsible for what, and who that singing way in the back was.  Also, it looks like promotion was in full swing, as the large, movie style posters were plastered around Austin for the SXSW festival this year.

up on the poduim you’re handsome and you’re tall / but actually you are just hardly 5 foot small

So back to the music, yes, so far I’m really digging it.  As with everything I’ve heard from Danger Mouse, the production is incredible, but there is such a variety in this one, it serves like some full featured buffet that no one wants to leave. As the NPR reviewer states, “...Dark Night of the Soul delivers in every way you’d hope for. It’s beautiful but haunting, surreal and dark, but sometimes comical and affecting, with ear-popping, multilayered production work. It just gets more mesmerizing with every listen.”  While that’s pretty heddy praise, after living with it for a day, I have to agree.  After the coneptions about the music fade, it’s replaced by the various moods in the music and it just feels right.  Although if you really listen to it, I’m not sure if it’s supposed to…

when you lay your head upon the pillow, I’ll be gone

(if you can’t find a place to download the music online, leave a note below)