A legal dispute has led one of pop music's most exciting artists to take a novel approach to the release of his latest work: the album is a blank recordable CD on to which buyers can record illegally-downloaded versions of the album.
Fans of Danger Mouse can buy a luxurious package of a poster and a book of photographs by cult film director David Lynch for $50. It includes a blank recordable CD, which is being seen as a signal that fans should download unauthorised copies of the album, which has been leaked online.
"Due to an ongoing dispute with [record label] EMI, Danger Mouse is unable to include music on the CD without fear of legal entanglement," said a statement on the project's website. "Therefore, he has included a blank CD-R as an artefact to use however you see fit."
The project is called Dark Night Of The Soul and is a collaboration with dark Americana one-man-band Sparklehorse. Most of its tracks involve contributions from some of alternative music's biggest names, including Iggy Pop and Frank Black as well as members of Super Furry Animals and The Strokes.
According to Rolling Stone magazine a spokesperson for Danger Mouse recognised that the music is available through non-official channels. "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 told the magazine.
The album is being legally streamed by US radio station NPR, though it is not clear for how long that stream will stay live.
The project is not explaining what the nature of the legal dispute is, though some have speculated that EMI, which releases Sparklehorse records, may have a long-standing dispute with Danger Mouse.
Danger Mouse made his name with an innovative, illegal mash-up called The Grey Album which fused material from rapper Jay Z's The Black Album and The Beatles' The White Album. It was an underground phenomenon but was illegal and was objected to by The Beatles' record label, EMI.
EMI releases Sparklehorse's records and may have control over the output of the man behind Sparklehorse, Mark Linkous.
Other records with Danger Mouse involvement have been released by EMI since the Grey Album controversy, though. Danger Mouse, whose real name is Brian Burton, produced two albums by Blur frontman Damon Albarn's side projects, Gorillaz and The Good, The Bad and The Queen. Both were released by labels owned by EMI.
Danger Mouse also had chart success as one half of Gnarls Barkley.
The Dark Night Of The Soul package is available as a book, poster and blank CD set for $50 or as just a poster and blank CD set for $10.
The album can be heard here on a legal stream from NPR
The project's official website is here
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