It’s been one of the most hotly anticipated albums of 2009 since it was first announced: “Dark Night of the Soul,” a collaboration between the producer Danger Mouse (Gnarls Barkley, Gorillaz, The Black Keys) and critically acclaimed psych-rock act Sparklehorse (a.k.a. Mark Linkous). Due to unspecified legal issues with EMI, though, the project’s official release has been either scrapped altogether or put on indefinite hiatus.
From the statement given by Danger Mouse, it sounds as though the former is the case. A representative said, "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."
EMI representatives did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The album leaked to file sharing networks around May 7, just as the promotional campaign was just setting into motion. As a part of its "Exclusive First Listen" series, NPR announced yesterday that it would stream "Dark Knight of the Soul" in its entirety, and it is currently doing so. As the only official outlet for those seeking to hear the album it in its entirety, NPR could indirectly benefit from the legal entanglements.
As far as the stream’s expiration date, “It’s up in the air,” NPR Music producer Robin Hilton tells Billboard.com. “We don’t have a definite take down date.” The exact amount of times the album has been streamed is unknown, but intrigue surrounding the record seems to be resonating: NPR.org's story that features the stream link has been the most popular news item on the website for the last twenty-four hours.
A thirteen-song set, “Dark Night of the Soul” features a who’s who of musical contributors, including The Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne, The Strokes’ Julian Casablancas, Iggy Pop, Frank Black, The Shins’ James Mercer, Super Furry Animals’ lead singer Gruff Rhys, ex-Granddaddy principle Jason Lytle, The Cardigans’ Nina Persson, and singer-songwriter Vic Chesnutt. Filmmaker David Lynch provided a book of still photos with which the CD was to be packaged. The book is still slated for release, but a blank CDR will be inserted instead of the actual album.