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"Dark Night Of The Soul" is a beautiful, haunting album by Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse, featuring a remarkable roll call of guests. News of this unparalleled project began to circulate in early 2009 sparking widespread anticipation and excitement, however its music was never made officially available. Now, following months of talks, "Dark Night Of The Soul" has been rescued from 'lost album' status.
Danger Mouse, also know as Brian Burton, is an acclaimed artist and producer thanks to the widescreen musical landscapes he has created 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 director-like approach of crafting whole albums of sonic scenery into which collaborators enter, his enthusiasm for Linkous’s output led him to produce just a handful of songs 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.
"Dark Night Of The Soul" 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 lynchpin Julian Casablancas, Pixies frontman 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" is pregnant with the promise of 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, him contributing two songs; "Star Eyes (I Can't Catch It)" and the title track which christened the project. Lynch's imagery provides a spectacular filmic 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 the 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 the already much missed 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.
Andy says: So glad it's finally, properly here. Every song's a winner but the Gruff Rhys, James Mercer, Wayne Coyne and Julian Casablanca's ones really stand out. Some strange magic's at large!
01. Revenge (Feat. The Flaming Lips)
02. Just War (Feat. Gruff Rhys)
03. Jaykub (Feat. Jason Lytle)
04. Little Girl (Feat. Julian Casablancas)
05. Angel's Harp (Feat. Black Francis)
06. Pain (Feat. Iggy Pop)
07. Star Eyes (I Can't Catch It) (Feat. David Lynch)
08. Everytime I'm With You (Feat. Jason Lytle)
09. Insane Lullaby (Feat. James Mercer)
10. Daddy's Gone (Feat. Mark Linkous & Nina Persson)
11. The Man Who Played God (Feat. Suzanne Vega)
12. Grim Augury (Feat. Vic Chesnutt)
13. Dark Night Of The Soul (Feat. David Lynch)