Unplugging: Collaborations fueling the musical fire

Artists often like to spice up their sounds by crossing boundaries. One of said boundaries is going into the world of collaborations – working with other artists in order to create something new and innovative.

Lots of artists have been venturing into this territory lately, and creating some buzz-worthy results. For example, Legend Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band collaborated with other musicians during his two recent performances in Chicago.

On both nights, concert attendees witnessed Springsteen perform with artists of his caliber – Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam and Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine. Vedder and Morello featured on tracks including “Atlantic City,” “My Hometown,” and “Darkness on the Edge of Town.”

The Flaming Lips recently confirmed that they have plans to collaborate with other artists to record a Crimson King tribute album. Along with The Flaming Lips, the album, “In the Court of the Crimson King” is set to feature New Fumes, Linear Downfall, Spaceface, and Stardeath and White Dwarfs. Daniel Huffman of New Fumes has already started to contribute to the tribute album track list with his rendition of “I Talk to the Wind.”

Huffman stated, “Working on King Crimson music is fun for all of us…Their stuff is fantastic!”


Another collaboration that has music fans singing praises is the one between St. Vincent and David Byrne. Founding member of the Talking Heads, David Byrne, and Annie Clark, stage name St. Vincent, released their album Love This Giant on September 10, 2012. The two debuted together this past week on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Accompanied by a horn section, the pair performed two songs off of the album – single “Who” and “The Forest Awakes.”

On September 18, Kanye West and G.O.O.D. Music will release the album “Cruel Summer.” The track list was recently revealed on Amazon.com and shows the album being composed of twelve tracks, including popular song “Mercy,” featuring Big Sean, Pusha T and 2 Chainz. The remainder of the album seems collaboration-heavy as well, piled-up with featuring artists nearly every track. “The Morning” features Raekwon, Pusha T, Common, 2 Chainz, CyHi Da Prynce, Kid Cudi, and D’Banj. The album also features R. Kelly, John Legend, and DJ Khaled.

Thom Yorke’s band Atoms for Peace is a collaboration in itself. Members of Atoms for Peace include Yorke, the frontman of Radiohead, Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich, Joey Waronker, and Mauro Refosco. The band released their first studio recording this week – a track titled “Default.” The band expects to release their first album in 2013.

Not new to the idea of collaboration, Beck has contributed to the video game Sound Shapes. The game has a musical focus, allowing the player to create music and beats levels, which increase in difficulty as the game continues.

Beck has contributed three tracks to the game thus far – “Cities,” “Touch the People,” and “Spiral Staircase.” Other collaborations Beck participated in this year include singles “I Just Started Hating Some People Today” with Jack White and “Silk Pillows” with Childish Gambino.

Put one musician in a room and you’ve got a potentially great album. Put more than one artist in a room and you’ve got the potential for a legendary, innovative sound. With each collaboration, the artist not only opens themselves up to new worlds, but keeps us as listeners on our toes and waiting for the next big thing.

Unplugging in Brief

Watch: Eddie Vedder Joins Bruce Springsteen on Stage in Chicago

The Flaming Lips Announce Potential Track Listing and Collaborators for Tribute Album In the Court of the Crimson King

David Byrne and St. Vincent Perform “Who” and “The Forest Awakes” on Jimmy Fallon

Kanye West and G.O.O.D. Music Announce Track Listing for New Album Cruel Summer

Listen: New Atoms for Peace Single “Default”

Listen: Hear Beck’s Three Contributions to the Video Game Sound Shapes

* Aria Davis, MXDWN