Karen O & Danger Mouse: Lux Prima review – Constructive anger

Fri, Mar 15, 2019, 05:00

   
 

Album:
Lux prima

Artist:
Karen O & Danger Mouse

Label:
BMG

Genre:
Rock

Eleven years ago, Karen O drunkenly phoned Danger Mouse to say they should work together, but the project really began in 2016, and the result is a dreamy, sophisticated and playful piece of work.

The title track – a sprawling, nine-minute composition – wanders around an Air-inflected landscape, taking in elements of jazz and trip-hop, a combination that complements Karen O’s knowing vocal, evolving into a metaphor for their long-gestating collaboration.

Ideas are never repeated, but recontextualised, turning on dualities; for all the ominous atmosphere behind a song such as the guitar-led Redeemer, there is a radiant vitality to compositions such as the psych-driven Leopard’s Tongue and the doo-wop girl-group potency of Woman.

The cinematic sweep of strings on Drown and Nox Lumina speaks to the ambition and scope of this record, a soundtrack to a film not made about life in Trump’s America. This is two artists using anger constructively. In April they will present Lux Prima as a “multisensory art installation” at the Marciano Art Foundation, a response to this era of distraction. As Karen O sings on Ministry, “Day by day, I’ll turn my dreams into a ministry”. It’s a compelling sermon.