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Dark Night Of The Soul
May 16, 2009 1:41 PM   Subscribe

Full Danger Mouse & Sparklehorse album Dark Night of the Soul is streaming right now on NPR. Info about album dispute here.
posted by forallmankind (50 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
He added that the album, which comes with a limited edition, "100+ page book" of David Lynch photographs inspired by the music "will now come with a blank, recordable CD-R".

"All copies will be clearly labelled: 'For Legal Reasons, enclosed CD-R contains no music. Use it as you will.'"


A blank CD-R? What the hell am I supposed to do with that?
posted by burnmp3s at 1:56 PM on May 16, 2009 [8 favorites]


I don't quite get it either. Perhaps they will release the mp3s digitally for free and here's a CD-R for you to burn it yourself?

In any case, I'm excited about this album. The first track sounds kind of John Lennon-esque.
posted by troubles at 2:06 PM on May 16, 2009


I read elsewhere that the inference was "find the music online and burn it on this disc."
posted by nevercalm at 2:07 PM on May 16, 2009


Gah! It's not loading for me.
posted by slimepuppy at 2:09 PM on May 16, 2009


According to Boing Boing the idea is that you download the leaked tracks from your P2P service of choice and burn them on the provided CD-R.
posted by arcolz at 2:10 PM on May 16, 2009


Can anyone provide specific details on why EMI is blocking this release?
posted by monkeymike at 2:12 PM on May 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


This is strange and disappointing news. I've been looking forward to this for a while (I'm excited to hear how they managed to fit so much awesomeness into one project) and I'm sad it's not getting a real release.

I do like the whole "fuck you" of releasing a blank CD-R and therefore encouraging people to acquired it illegally. Because you know, I'll probably buy it and do just that. I don't download music through less-than-legal means because I don't want to pay for it -- I almost always want to pay for it. But with things like this ... they're pretty much forcing listeners to "steal" it.
posted by darksong at 2:17 PM on May 16, 2009


What portion of the audience for this kind of thing doesn't use computers or has no idea how to go about downloading mp3s or whatnot?
posted by box at 2:36 PM on May 16, 2009


Jon Cage's estate is going to take this dude to the cleaners/
posted by PenDevil at 2:39 PM on May 16, 2009 [9 favorites]


Empirical data shows 87.5%.
posted by forallmankind at 2:40 PM on May 16, 2009


Monkeymike, the Rolling Stone article about the issue says the following:

The disagreement between Danger Mouse and EMI likely roots back to the Jay-Z/Beatles mash-up The Grey Album he made in 2004. The brilliant combination of The White Album with The Black Album catapulted DM (real name Brian Burton) from bedroom producer to international star, but it came with a price: it infuriated the massive label group, which controls the rights to the Beatles’ recordings.

Sparklehorse are under contract with EMI, and Danger Mouse produced albums like Gorillaz’s Demon Days and the Good, the Bad and the Queen’s self-titled debut for labels under the EMI umbrella, so it’s unclear why the lawsuit would trouble the release now.


I'm about half-way through the album and really enjoying it. However, is it just me or does the music not quite match the tone set by the album artwork? The Frank Black and Iggy Pop tunes are so far the only ones that (at least on a first listen) evoke a dark night of the soul.
posted by slimepuppy at 2:40 PM on May 16, 2009


Sparklehorse are under contract with EMI, and Danger Mouse produced albums like Gorillaz’s Demon Days and the Good, the Bad and the Queen’s self-titled debut for labels under the EMI umbrella, so it’s unclear why the lawsuit would trouble the release now.


To drum up interest in this release?
posted by now i'm piste at 2:56 PM on May 16, 2009


Whats more interesting to me about this album is how they've chosen to have guest artists sing for each songs they've written. And not having them just as duets or whatever, but being the main vocals... Are there other examples of albums done this way in popular music?
posted by troubles at 2:59 PM on May 16, 2009


Dark night of the soul is in reference to the works of St. John of the Cross, a Christian mystic. St. John described the “dark night,” as the time when a believer feels totally abandoned by God, and which can lead to doubting God’s existence. Wikipedia more blandly calls it a treatise on loneliness, and you can read it online here.
posted by zenon at 2:59 PM on May 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


(uh, in reference to slimepuppy's comment)
posted by zenon at 3:00 PM on May 16, 2009


What portion of the audience for this kind of thing doesn't use computers or has no idea how to go about downloading mp3s or whatnot?

I'm really trying to figure out this comment. I'm assuming you're implying it's a high portion, but I can't figure out why. I'm not sure how someone who doesn't do the internet would even know of the existence of someone like Dangermouse. What, because they say him on Letterman that one time?
posted by roll truck roll at 3:04 PM on May 16, 2009


Are there other examples of albums done this way in popular music?

Carlos Santana.
posted by roll truck roll at 3:05 PM on May 16, 2009


Well, to be fair, zenon, your comment could apply quite nicely to troubles' point about the songs being individual vocalists and not duets... Seems like a deliberate choice considering the overriding theme.

I'm still not completley convinced by the artwork. I love Lynch and the photos, but the images seem more ominous than the songs themselves which vary from melancholic to genuinely upbeat.
posted by slimepuppy at 3:06 PM on May 16, 2009


Are there other examples of albums done this way in popular music?

Not to mention UNKLE's first album Psyence Fiction, from way back.
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 3:32 PM on May 16, 2009


nevercalm: "I read elsewhere that the inference was "find the music online and burn it on this disc.""

* golf clap *

Also, I gotta think that Bill Laswell has done tracks with guests as the main vocalist or sole vocalist.
posted by boo_radley at 3:35 PM on May 16, 2009


I finished listening to the whole album earlier this morning, and I personally loved it. I'm a fan of his other work with the Gorillaz and I've got The Mouse and the Mask on vinyl, so yeah - maybe I'm biased. I don't care how they release it if it's not on vinyl anyways. I'm a snob that way. I just feel bad for the artist - sounds like the record company is screwing him over. All that time, talent, and energy just to have EMI say they won't release it? Weak sauce.
posted by Bageena at 3:58 PM on May 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Psyence Fiction! Great album. I think what they did there was a different kind of collaboration...but yeah, close enough I think.
posted by troubles at 4:07 PM on May 16, 2009


troubles: The 6ths, side-project from the Magnetic Fields.
posted by Infinite Jest at 4:10 PM on May 16, 2009


Having listed to it through most of the album- starts off pretty decent and then some of the tracks on the second half are a little weak. Given the title and the art I was expecting something more introspective, and concur with slimepuppy that it doesn't really match up.

I am surprised that Danger Mouse thought everything would go his way on this sort of project. He's the poster child of repurposing, mashing up and appropriating those golden $$ moldies - that is certain to piss at least one of the suits off, and its great* that he thumbs his nose at the traditional business model and is actively encourage everyone to get the album online.

*not great exactly because in addition to his work that he is giving away he is also giving away other people's work, and some of those people probably like to eat & may not be super famous & fill their pockets with tour proceeds. Noble? Maybe there is a German word for this sort of sticking it to "the man" whilst simultaneously sticking it to other "starving artists".
posted by zenon at 4:12 PM on May 16, 2009


Those fuckers should have sold t-shirts if they wanted any money.
posted by Artw at 4:36 PM on May 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think Brian Epstein gave away the marketing rights to the T-shirts for a quick knee trembler around the back of Shea Stadium.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:49 PM on May 16, 2009


I don't know how big the non-techy audience is--was hoping somebody who's a bigger fan or more knowledgeable might have an idea. With In Rainbows, for example, if memory serves, people were surprised at how many physical copies were sold in brick-and-mortar retail stores.

And there are a couple duets albums that take a similar approach, including ones from Herbie Hancock and Frank Sinatra.
posted by box at 5:18 PM on May 16, 2009


Having listened to it, I think it has a nice arc -- it gets progressively darker as it goes.

Where's all the love for Sparklehorse? Danger Mouse is awesome and all and I think his contributions to this are extraordinary, but this definitely has Mark Linkous all over it.

(Allow a girl some hometown pride, OK? It thrills me, although doesn't particularly surprise me, Mark Linkous was originally from Richmond.)
posted by darksong at 5:23 PM on May 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wait… If the LABEL HE IS ON is refusing to release the music, why would the LABEL HE IS ON sell cd-rs and booklets? If the artist doesn't have enough pull to get his music released, there's no way he has enough to get this blank+book package.

Yeah, enjoy the taste boys, y'all just sucked some fake-controversy marketing.
posted by klangklangston at 5:34 PM on May 16, 2009 [2 favorites]



Wait… If the LABEL HE IS ON is refusing to release the music, why would the LABEL HE IS ON sell cd-rs and booklets? If the artist doesn't have enough pull to get his music released, there's no way he has enough to get this blank+book package.


I don't see why Lynch couldn't independently put out a book of photos (through, y'know, a book publisher rather than a record label) and then just toss in a blank cd-r as a gimmicky pack-in. Would the record label be able to stop that?
posted by juv3nal at 5:59 PM on May 16, 2009


If it's pepsi blue its pretty thin sauce. I can't imagine EMI is planning on selling more this way than actually selling a complete package. The dorks who would buy the album for the art & blank disk just for the novelty....wait a minute. I am one of those dorks*. Damn it.

I have to admit, if that is what EMI is doing, that's the first really smart move I've seen from a major in a while.

*no - I'm really not.
posted by zenon at 6:28 PM on May 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Here it be.
posted by pianomover at 6:38 PM on May 16, 2009 [1 favorite]



Are there other examples of albums done this way in popular music?


Invisible Airline by Q-burns Abstract Message. A lot of it is in collaboration with Lisa Shaw.
posted by zinfandel at 6:55 PM on May 16, 2009


So you're telling me that everything I love in the world is in one package, and I can never have it?

Cool.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:43 PM on May 16, 2009


I like what I hear so far...
posted by schyler523 at 9:33 PM on May 16, 2009


God that Iggy Pop song is a joke. The Frank Black tune is fairly dull, too, as is the pleasantly boring Super Furry Animals track. All kinda predictable after the opening moments.

I'm gonna stop now but someone feel free to let me know if any of the songs are actually, you know, interesting.
posted by mediareport at 10:16 PM on May 16, 2009


I don't see why Lynch couldn't independently put out a book of photos (through, y'know, a book publisher rather than a record label) and then just toss in a blank cd-r as a gimmicky pack-in. Would the record label be able to stop that?

That is what the Dark Night of the Soul website says, actually. You buy the book and it comes with a blank CD-R. Didn't anyone, you know, go to the website?
posted by Mikey-San at 11:13 PM on May 16, 2009


pianomover: "Here it be."

Thanks pianomover.

If you go to the Dark Night Of The Soul website, they have two packages for sale: a $10 poster/blank CD-R, and for $50 you get the photobook (limited to 5000 copies) a different poster plus the CD-R.
posted by aGee at 11:52 PM on May 16, 2009


Are there other examples of albums done this way in popular music?

Version, by Mark Ronson.
posted by djgh at 1:37 AM on May 17, 2009


From Radiohead bassist Colin Greenwood's blog, 'How to be like Colin Greenwood in ten easy steps':

2. Fucking Buy Sparklehorse Records

Thanks for posting. I love Mark Linkous.
posted by Cantdosleepy at 8:22 AM on May 17, 2009


Whats more interesting to me about this album is how they've chosen to have guest artists sing for each songs they've written. And not having them just as duets or whatever, but being the main vocals... Are there other examples of albums done this way in popular music?

Former Depeche Mode member Alan Wilder does this with his band Recoil.
posted by Locative at 9:42 AM on May 17, 2009


Torrented, listened, said "this is maudin drek" about three songs in, clicked around, didn't find any kind of interesting sonic textures anywhere, deleted. Then voted with my bandwidth by cancelling the torrent before I'd shared out enough for a healthy torrent for the first time ever.

But like the Grey Album, it's driven me to some interesting stuff - the Grey Album made me get the Beatles' catalog back into active rotation, and the pointers in the comments here to other albums with guest vocals on every other track are welcome - I'm enjoying the hell out of UNKLE's Psyence Fiction right now!
posted by egypturnash at 10:59 AM on May 17, 2009


Are there other examples of albums done this way in popular music?

Die Haut made a number of records that were half-instrumental, half guest-vocalist (Nick Cave, Lydia Lunch, Blixa Bargeld, Kid Congo Powers, Kim Gordon, Anita Lane, Debbie Harry, Jeffrey Lee Pierce). I'm not big on K.C Powers's voice, but otherwise the live album Sweat is fantastic. I believe one of their earlier records has vocals from one of the core-members (and this was generally regarded as a misstep).

Lilium is essentially the 2 non-singing members of Sixteen Horsepower. They released one instrumental album, and one with all vocals being handled by guests.

The Current 93 album Black Ships Ate the Sky has 20+ tracks, 9 of which are the same song by a different guest vocalist (Marc Almond, Will Oldham, Shirley Collins, etc). C93's main guitarist Michael Cashmore has released a number of records under the name Nature & Organisation which are either instrumental or featuring guest vocalists.
posted by K.P. at 5:11 PM on May 17, 2009


oh, I forgot Pigface. Different line-up for every album apart from one permanent founding member who never sings.

(also, the shipping charges on the DNOTS book to Europe are extortionate.)
posted by K.P. at 5:38 PM on May 17, 2009


Limited edition Pepsi blue, at that. Man, this is crisp and refreshing!

There is nothing I've seen noting EMI's reasoning, and there's already prepared the CD-R release. Just a bit shady.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:19 PM on May 17, 2009


halfway through on NPR stream and I'm not enjoying this at all.
posted by mary8nne at 4:08 AM on May 18, 2009


Are there other examples of albums done this way in popular music?

Lastly, this album by Talking Heads and this album by Delerium.
posted by K.P. at 8:17 AM on May 18, 2009


Then voted with my bandwidth by cancelling the torrent before I'd shared out enough for a healthy torrent for the first time ever.

Obviously your share ratio is going to be above 1 overall so you're fine, but this isn't really an effective way to show that you don't like a torrent. If you're using a decent tracker they should have a star rating system and a comments field where you can thank the uploader and then say that you didn't actually like the album.
posted by burnmp3s at 9:00 AM on May 18, 2009


burnmp3s, it was Demonoid, which I don't have any kind of account on but let me download the torrent anyway.

I have found that creating accounts on torrent sites for commenting purposes tends to be a royal pain in the ass; every time I've tried to do so I've given up before actually having one. Demonoid isn't even letting you make an account unless you have an invite, which I can't be bothered to hunt down. Voting with my bandwidth is a lot easier.
posted by egypturnash at 11:30 AM on May 18, 2009


Different line-up for every album apart from one permanent founding member who never sings.

Aww, what about "Psalm Springs Eternal" on Notes From Thee Underground? Hehe...

UNKLE's newest album, 'War Stories', is also really good and has several different guest vocalists working throughout. Also, another band that has a rotating list of singers is Tweaker, a side project of Chris Vrenna which I always thought was underappreciated - '2a.m. Wakeup Call' was a great album with Bonnie Prince Charles, Robert Smith, David Sylvian, Jennifer Charles and more.
posted by FatherDagon at 1:11 PM on May 18, 2009


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