Dark Night Of The Soul is is a new release by Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse, featuring a remarkable roll call of guests. Though news of this project’s existence began to circulate in early 2009, the music was never made officially available. Following months of talks, Dark Night Of The Soul has been rescued from ‘lost album’ status and is out now worldwide HERE or at the links below…
Danger Mouse, aka Brian Burton, is well known for creating widescreen musical landscapes for Gorillaz, The Good The Bad & The Queen, The Black Keys, Beck and others, as well as his own artist-led adventures with Gnarls Barkley and Broken Bells.
Sparklehorse is the pseudonym of Mark Linkous, a stunningly talented yet often overlooked singer and multi-instrumentalist, admired for his intimate melancholic country-folk. Despite Danger Mouse’s preferred directorial approach, crafting albums of sonic scenery into which collaborators enter, his enthusiasm for Linkous’s output led him to produce several tracks for the fourth Sparklehorse LP, Dreamt For Light Years In The Belly of A Mountain. The pair became friends and resolved to make an entire album together. They drafted a wish list of singers to appear on their new record, tentatively dubbed Sparklemouse or Dangerhorse, and what would later become Dark Night Of The Soul began to evolve.
The album opens with a trio of sublime psychedelic rock songs featuring The Flaming Lips on the mournful, melancholic Revenge, ever-inventive Welshman Gruff Rhys, the album’s only non-US artist, waging a Just War and Jason Lytle telling the biographical tale of Jaykub. The pace and intensity increases with Little Girl, Angel’s Harp and Pain which feature The Strokes lynch-pin Julian Casablancas, Pixies front-man Black Francis and punk pioneer Iggy Pop respectively. Elsewhere, Linkous reunites with Nina Persson, formerly of The Cardigans, and singer-songwriter Vic Chesnutt, both of whom also appear on the 2001 Sparklehorse LP, It’s A Wonderful Life. New Yorker Suzanne Vega sings The Man Who Played God and the industrial- tinged Insane Lullaby looks towards James Mercer and Danger Mouse’s subsequent Broken Bells project.
Despite the guest vocalists never receiving specific direction, nor hearing any of the other material, Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse observed common themes emerging as the album took shape. The songs were dark, dreamlike and explored war, death, pain, twisted dreams and other haunting subjects. Wanting to investigate a possible visual dimension, Danger Mouse approached iconic director David Lynch whose excitement for the project resulted in a series of original photographs and remarkably, contributing two songs; Star Eyes (I Can’t Catch It) and the title track. Lynch’s imagery provides a spectacular cinematic element to Dark Night Of The Soul and has featured in an audio-visual gallery installation, a limited edition art book and will be incorporated into the artwork for this already unique project.
Whilst this official release of Dark Night Of The Soul is undoubtedly a cause for celebration, it is also shadowed by sadness following the recent passing of Mark Linkous. Dark Night Of The Soul now stands as a de facto tribute to this well-loved and brilliantly gifted artist. The album is also dedicated to the memory of Vic Chesnutt.