Danger Mouse, David Lynch, & Sparklehorse: Dark Night of the Soul [Part 1] Track Links & Backstory

(To read Part 2, featuring the Gallery exhibit/Book images, click here)

danger-mouse-dark-night-of-the-soulFor those that have been following the construction, breakdown, and pseudo-resurrection of the Dark Night of the Soul collaboration between DJ Danger Mouse, Sparklehorse (Mark Linkous) and filmmaker David Lynch, we hope to provide some additional information about this chaotic project.  We’re even gonna throw a few links and tips your way about acquiring the tracks from the album and peeping out the original artwork.  For those that aren’t up on the craziness that DNOTS has become, we’re gonna start out by breaking it down for you like an X1 model Hyundai Excel.

Producer/artist Brian Joseph Burton (aka: Danger Mouse) hit the scene pretty tough when he dropped The Grey Album, back in 2004.  The album was comprised of mash-ups between tracks from Jay-Z’s The Black Album and The BeatlesWhite Album and EMI, copyright holder of The Beatles material used, lost their shit.  The EMI Group‘s attempts to halt the distribution actually helped to increase the project’s notoriety and demand, as well as that of the artist.  The Dark Night of the Soul project has entered into a similar realm, with Danger Mouse and EMI bumping heads yet again, but we’ll go into that later.

Burton has been nominated for 11 Grammys and has won 2, but even his commercial and critical successes do not tend to stem from having a typical approach to the industry.  When he teamed up Goodie Mob‘s Cee-Lo Green to become a household name as Gnarls Barkley, much of their attention and success was generated by employing, then unorthodox, methods to exploit Myspace‘s potential as a format for publicity.  Much like DanThe AutomatorNakamura, Danger Mouse has produced albums for both The Gorrilaz and BeckNakamura has made the comment,  “Traditionally I’ve been known to produce rap records but nobody ever hires me to do rap records.”  Burton has worked with a range of artists from MF Doom (Dangerdoom) to Black Keys and seems to enjoy that challenge of crossing genres and expanding his catalog of work in new directions.  Dark Night of the Soul pushes the envelope even further.

DNOTS [The Album]

Dark Night of the Soul album

All of the music from the DNOTS album was written and performed by the unlikely pairing of DM and SparklehorseSparklehorse‘s Mark Linkous has become an established producer in his own right and has worked with and produced albums for artists like Daniel Johnston.  When Linkous organized and produced a collection of cover songs, deceitfully titled The Late Great Daniel Johnston: Discovered Covered, it featured Sparklehorse and  The Flaming Lips working together on a version of Johnston‘s song “GO“.  DNOTS, which also features a track between Sparklehorse and the Lips, is a remarkable collaboration in every sense of the word.  David Lynch Danger mouseThe tracks feature vocal contributions by a variety of artists, including Black Francis (The Pixies), Iggy Pop, Suzanne Vega, and James Mercer (The Shins); all of which are also said to have played a huge role in the direction and input of the corresponding songs that they are featured on.  Probably the most confusing addition to the project is David Lynch.

Lynch is known for creating Twin Peaks, as well as legendary cult films like Eraserhead and Blue Velvet.  After being approached by long-time fan, Danger Mouse, Lynch agreed to be involved with him on a project.  While working off of each other, the filmmaker created a series of photographs, which were inspired by the music that DM and Linkous were creating around him.  The photographs were intended to accompany the album in book form and Lynch even sings on two of the tracks.  David Lynch‘s voice is heavily processed, but works remarkably well on DNOTS and sounds similar to Vincent Gallows vocal work on his When album [2001 Warp Records].

Overall, the album is surprisingly consistent.   It has an incredibly dreamy quality to it, with both a good deal of piano accompaniment and electronic blips mixed in.  It’s clear that Lynch‘s presence helped to influence the producers, based on the often dark and ominous qualities represented through much of the sound.  At times there are glimpses of The Beatles, while at other times, there’s a little Tom Waits or Aimee Mann (circa the Magnolia Soundtrack) thrown in.  The cohesion is fairly astounding, considering the amount of cooks that have been invited into this metaphorical kitchen, but every artist on DNOTS is represented admirably throughout and, although their sounds meld effortlessly, each musician manages to stand out on their individual merits.  It’s clear that a lot of thought was put into this project so it shocked many when it was announced that it will likely never be officially released at all.

Long story short, EMI lost their shit again and Danger Mouse is unable to release the album without facing a potential lawsuit.  The following are statements released from each of their camps.

EMI: “Danger Mouse is a brilliant, talented artist for whom we have enormous respect. We continue to make every effort to resolve this situation and we are talking to Brian Burton (Danger Mouse) directly. Meanwhile, we need to reserve our rights.

Official Dark Night of the Soul website: “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.

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 about it as he is.”

The reference to “whatever means” refers to the fact that DNOTS is actually still being released as a package; minus the one thing that cannot be released legally…the music.  Yep, everything but the album itself.  The package, which for all intents and purposes is a collectors item, has been pressed to only 5,000 copies and has a pricetag of $50.  Here’s part of the description, also from the DNOTS site:

The photographs, which provide a visual narrative for the music, are compiled in a limited edition, hand numbered 100+ page book which will now come with a blank, recordable CD-R. All copies will be clearly labeled: “For Legal Reasons, enclosed CD-R contains no music. Use it as you will.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has addressed the possible issues which could arise from a claim that Burton may be “inducing” copyright infringement by saying:

..if the blank CD-R is a royalty-paid “music CD-R,” then the copies made by fans (whether made from NPR or P2P) would be legal under 17 U.S.C. 1008, which provides that no infringement lawsuit may be “based on the noncommercial use by a consumer of [a digital audio recording] medium for making digital musical recordings.” Digital audio recording medium (DARM) is defined to include “music CD-Rs” on which a royalty is paid to copyright owners.”


Now that you’ve been caught up, you’re still going to need to get the music somewhere, whether you pay for the $50 package, the cheaper $10 package (just an alternate poster and CDR), or….”whatever means“.  If you search out files through sites like Filestube, Mediafire, Megaupload, Rapidfire, etc., you will likely find that they have been deleted due to copyright infringement.  EMI does not fuck around.  One great option, however, is that the album has been streaming for free through NPR‘s site, for a little while now, and I came across a detailed link about how someone reverse engineered the streaming files to locate the original MP3 locations.  It’s tedious as fuck though, and you’re not gonna have you go through all that shit.  What we have provided below are the direct links to each individual track.  As the document about the link conversion stated, “Another advantage of downloading via NPR is that depending on your own country’s laws it ‘MAY’ (note I said ‘may’ …. in full caps no less) actually be legal to download a copy from the NPR stream“.  It’s up to you whether you choose to look into that or not and heed the law accordingly.

The links will take you to a Quicktime audio player.  If you have Quicktime Pro, or if you can get it, it allows you to download the files by choosing “Save as Source“.  If the file, for some reason, does not download directly as an MP3 for you, there are audio converting programs that are available for free trials.  You may also have to rename the files correctly after download but, at this point, the art and titles should be automatically generated through the “Find Album Info” link through your music player.

Don’t want to fuck with the Quicktime?  Follow this procedure on the MP3 pages:

Go to “TOOLS” >
Click on “Page Info” >
Choose “Media” >
Then, “Save As


Just right click the song titles below and click “Save Link As…

{you can also listen to the tracks through their pop up link windows, here on the site}

Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse present:

Dark Night of the Soul

1. “Revenge” (featuring The Flaming Lips) – 4:52
2. “Just War” (featuring Gruff Rhys) – 3:44
3. “Jaykub” (featuring Jason Lytle) – 3:52
4. “Little Girl” (featuring Julian Casablancas) – 4:33
5. “Angel’s Harp” (featuring Black Francis) – 2:57
6. “Pain” (featuring Iggy Pop) – 2:49
7. “Star Eyes (I Can’t Catch It)” (featuring David Lynch) – 3:10
8. “Everytime I’m with You” (featuring Jason Lytle) – 3:09
9. “Insane Lullaby” (featuring James Mercer) – 3:12
10. “Daddy’s Gone” (featuring Mark Linkous and Nina Persson) – 3:09
11. “The Man Who Played God” (featuring Suzanne Vega) – 3:09
12. “Grim Augury” (featuring Vic Chesnutt) – 2:32
13. “Dark Night of the Soul” (featuring David Lynch and Scott Spillane) – 4:38

Dead C

Located in Seattle, Dead C is the founder/editor, as well as the principal writer and photographer, of Monster Fresh. Creating the site in 2007, he did so with a specific dream in mind. Unfortunately, being a muscle relaxer-fueled fever dream, it's hard to recall all of the details. "I remember that my mom was there, but it wasn't actually her in the dream, it was actually 70s heart throb, Jan Michael Vincent. And everything took place here, in this room... but it wasn't actually here... it was different. The colors were washed out and, for some reason, there was a raccoon kicking it with us and it was wearing a holographic monocle."

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