Norah Jones and Danger Mouse took a break from recording her upcoming album – which Danger Mouse is producing – to film a clip for “Black” from Danger Mouse’s album ROME.
Director Chris Milk considers the video to be “an experiment in raw minimalism.” There was no crew, and no hair, wardrobe, or makeup people to assist on the set, which Milk says was fine because Norah “still looks completely radiant.” Milk used the lack of a large crew to his advantage because “there is an intimacy and life within the clips that is sometimes difficult to capture with a crew of 100, lip-syncing, wind machines, and everything else I’ve certainly indulged in.”
The video – which was shot solely by Milk on two Canon 5D SLR cameras, a light disc reflector, and a sound engineer to record the live vocals – only took nine takes. “Brian, Daniele [Luppi] and Norah hadn’t really performed live together and it took me a minute to figure out how to run two cameras simultaneously by myself,” Milk says. “We did ‘Black’ nine times, which is why Norah faux collapses at the end of the take. We used the ninth.”
Danger Mouse explains that the decision to use Norah Jones’ vocals on the track came out of a need to have a certain kind of female voice. “Once I kind of put the female part together, it was kind of clear that it needed a softer voice – somebody who could be an any girl or any woman, kind of thing,” he says. “I was talking to Jack [White], and we talked about Norah Jones and I called Daniele [Luppi] and he thought it was a great idea as well. I didn’t know Norah at the time but I really loved her voice. So I approached Norah and she was up for it . . .”