Dark Night of the Soul — a project headed up by Danger Mouse, Sparklehorse and David Lynch that features contributions from the Shins’ James Mercer, Black Francis, the Strokes’ Julian Casablancas, the Flaming Lips and Iggy Pop, as well as a 100+ book of Lynch’s photographs — is on sale now at DNotS.com. However, in a weird twist, instead of getting music with the set, buyers instead will receive a blank CD-R.
“All copies will be clearly labeled: ‘For Legal Reasons, enclosed CD-R contains no music. Use it as you will,’ ” a spokesperson for Danger Mouse said. “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.”
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. “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,” the spokesperson said. The album has actually leaked, and there’s a legal stream at NPR’s site.