Karen O. and Danger Mouse | Lux Prima

by Christopher Andrew Armstrong

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After piquing the Internet’s interest in late 2018 with the sprawling, space-influenced, nine-minute-long track “Lux Prima,” and then following it up a few weeks later with the driving, empowered stomp of “Woman,” Karen O. and Danger Mouse’s collaborative album Lux Prima arrives on Friday, March 15th after months of build-up and hype. The project marks a return-to-form for two vastly different artists who’ve both built their reputations, and fan-bases in the indie and underground music scene.

Karen O. made a name for herself as the front-woman for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, a New York City based indie-rock band who stumbled upon almost-instant success with their genre-weaving first single “Maps,” a track which immediately found its place among the indie rock cannon. With four studio albums under her belt with the band, O. then ventured into the solo world by teaming up with Spike Jonze for the Where the Wild Things Are soundtrack in 2009 and then again in 2013 for the film Her, with the latter earning her an Oscar nomination. She released her debut solo album Crush Songs in September 2014.

Danger Mouse came to prominence with The Grey Album, a wildly ambitious mash-up album which combined Jay-Z’s vocals from The Black Album with instrumentation from The Beatles White Album. Despite having approval from both Jay-Z and the surviving members of The Beatles, record label EMI notoriously shelved it, which only added to the project’s mystique. The 6-time Grammy award winner then teamed up with Cee-Lo for the massive single “Crazy,” created the band Broken Bells with James Mercer from The Shins, formed Danger Doom with the influential, underground rapper M.F. Doom, and has also produced for an array of artists existing in all types of genres including Norah Jones, Adele, and A$AP Rocky.

In accordance with the release of Lux Prima, the duo plan a special March 18th performance on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” promised to be directed by Spike Jonze, and will unveil “An Encounter With Lux Prima” at the Los Angeles’ Marciano Art Foundation from April 18-21st. The installation, which sold-out immediately upon release, promises to be “an immersive, communal listening experience sound-tracked by the album, uniting their singular creative vision with groundbreaking audiovisual technologies.”

Lux Prima by Karen O. and Danger Mouse will be available digitally, and in C.D. format on March 15th, 2019.


Photos by Eliot Lee Hazel