Legal Dispute Results in Music-less Danger Mouse Project

May 27, 2009  |  9:55am
It would have been a perfect summer birthday gift for any modern music lover: a long-awaited and mysterious project headed by Danger Mouse, Sparklehorse and David Lynch with musical collaborations with The Flaming Lips, Iggy Pop, The Shins' James Mercer, The Strokes' Julian Casablancas and others, sold in a three-part package online for a cool $50. But buyer beware: The official site now warns that the project will include a blank CD-R.

Titled Dark Night of the Soul, the music was to be included in an album-length CD, accompanied by a fancy, cinema-style poster and an exclusive 100+ page book of photos by Lynch, known for his directorial work on creepy-awesome films like Mulholland Drive and Lost Highway. The package will remain intact, but the empty CD-R will be labeled, "For Legal Reasons, enclosed CD-R contains no music. Use it as you will."

Omitting the music was a decision made under the influence of EMI, which has had a tainted legal history with the Mouse. His popular 2004 mash-up of Jay-Z and The Beatles music, The Grey Album, set off the group's copyright-cautious alarms, and the tension is thought to have helped spur this current dispute.

Purchasing a much-hyped but ultimately empty CD might leave you drawing a blank, but look on the bright side: NPR is legally streaming the entire album on its site, and it's absolutely free (blank CD-R not included).

In the meantime, Danger Mouse says on the DNOTS site that he "hopes people lucky enough to hear the music, by whatever means, are as excited by it as he is."

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