" Listen to the tracks and see what comes."
That's the request the music producer Danger Mouse (aka Brian Burton) made of David Lynch upon presenting the filmmaker with a new project — an album called Dark Night of the Soul.
"He said, 'David, I know you don't have time to do videos, but maybe still photographs for each song?'" Lynch recalls.
" In music, hiding in there, is so much, and you just sit and listen to the tracks and these images come. "
The songs on Dark Night of the Soul were created by Danger Mouse and musician Mark Linkous, better known by his stage name, Sparklehorse.
The compositions were then farmed out to performers including Iggy Pop, the Flaming Lips and The Shins' James Mercer, who supplied the vocals and made their own contributions to the music.
Lynch himself even sang on two of the tracks.
"In music, hiding in there, is so much," says Lynch, explaining his creative process to NPR's Scott Simon on a tour of the Michael Kohn Gallery show.
"You just sit and listen to the tracks, and these images come."
Many of Lynch's photographs feature dramatic visual distortions that recall the sometimes impenetrable mysteries of Lynch's films.
"Life holds many, many mysteries — abstract things that we all think about," Lynch says.
"In a film, when things get abstract, some people don't appreciate that, and they want to leave the theater.
Others love to dream, get lost, try to figure things out.
I'm one of those people."