A rare foray into the world of Hip Hop from us here at One From The Vaults, but I’ve loved Danger Mouse since my dear friend Bobby played me The Only One in our teens after the boys had brought their lino down to our local shopping precinct and had a break dancing competition (oh those days).
Danger Mouse has had a huge influence on all spheres of music, not only releasing his own material but producing greats such as Gorillaz‘s Demon Days, Damon Albarn’s The Good The Bad and The Queen, and Beck‘s Modern Guilt, and continues to produce under a variety of aliases. He’s been the thread over the years that has connected many of my very different favourites, such as his work with James Mercer of The Shins as Broken Bells (the beautiful self-titled album came out in March 2010).
Danger Mouse catapulted to world fame in 2004 with a postmodernist combination of samples from The Beatles The White Album and vocals from Jay-Z‘s The Black Album, which became DM’s edits collection The Grey Album. He then teamed up with Cee Lo Green to become Gnarls Barkley (the name actually started as a combination of parodies of Prince Charles and Bob Marley) with the first single Crazy going to number 1 on download sales before the CD was even released, followed by the St Elsewhere album in 2006, and The Odd Couple in 2008.
Something that will please the hip hop heads; he then collaborated with the mighty MF DOOM to form DANGERDOOM, releasing The Mouse and The Mask in 2005, and remixing Zero 7′s Somersault (beautifully – listen here).
Yet another string to his bow is the collaboration with Sparklehorse, producing an album called Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse Present: Dark Night of the Soul, enlisting the legendary David Lynch for the photobook. Due to a dispute with EMI the album was not released officially until 12 July 2010, after Mark Linkous, the lead singer, killed himself in March of that year. Poetically anarchistic, there were rumours of plans to release a full illustrated jewel case with a blank CD-R included in it, labeled, ”For Legal Reasons, enclosed CD-R contains no music. Use it as you will.”
That brings us up to last year, with the wonderful Broken Bells. If you don’t own the album, you should download it this instant, it’s just the right side of dreamy and in this sunny spell we’re having it will give you a silly grin all day. I’m immensely pleased to see that there’s yet another project about to come to fruition; a collaboration with Italian composer Daniele Luppi on a new album called Rome, out May this year, featuring vocals from Jack Black and Norah Jones. The lead single Two Against One is below.
I thought it was also worth revisiting the start of it all, this little gem:
Danger Mouse and Jemini – The Only One