Collaborative projects are something the music community tends to look forward to. Mild High Club and King Gizzard. Jay-Z and Kanye West. Khruangbin and Leon Bridges. Sometimes certain sounds just work together.
Often, however, two groups will release a single together and leave me wanting more. They leave a lot to be desired when they only make a song or two together.
These are some collaborative singles that, in my opinion, would sound great on a full length album – if the two artists gave the idea a chance.
King Krule & Mount Kimbie – Blue Train Lines
Indie extraordinaire King Krule appeared on both of Mount Kimbie’s full-length albums, collaborating for a total of four singles together during their contemporary careers. As most of these songs together are quiet and follow a steady electronic beat (courtesy of Kimbie’s lo-fi sound), their most popular track together, “Blue Train Lines” is a loud, grainy free-for-all that blurs the lines between punk and electronic. Their versatility of style as a pairing showcases the potential for a full album between the group as it wouldn’t stick to one singular sound. Mount Kimbie’s discography is primarily devoid of vocals, as the electronic group typically hones their skills on drum-machines and synthesizers. Conversely, Krule is known for his deep, guttural UK voice that he either croons or screams with. The two projects together have the unique opportunity to create an entire project honing on their respective skills; the group could easily create a mind-blowing fusion of indietronica, post-punk, and lo-fi.
BADBADNOTGOOD & Samuel T. Herring – Time Moves Slow
Best known for his synth-pop group Future Islands, Samuel T. Herring is the definition of an absolute crooner; Herring has one of the richest, warmest voices of any current musician. If you don’t believe me, listen to his first single with BADBADNOTGOOD, “Time Moves Slow”. It’s actually their most streamed song on Spotify for both artists. As Herring showcases an ability to effortlessly sing, BBNG displays slows it down a bit from their usual tempo; rather than jamming at high speeds on jazz instruments, they stick to a simpler, slower sound. BBNG changes their style just enough to allow Herring to shine vocally, both in tempo and in structure. In both singles the duo have done together (Time Moves Slow & I Don’t Know) the jazz ensemble staggers their songs into an actual structure of chorus and bridge, rather than freeform jazz/funk. The work the two have done together proves the duo is able to work a bit outside of their usual paradigms, but in turn can create beautiful music.
Madlib & Kendrick Lamar – No More Parties In L.A.
This one might seem a bit misleading, but Kendrick did appear on a Madlib-produced beat. Kanye West’s “No More Parties In L.A. was exclusively produced by the legendary beat-maker himself in 2016 – the jazzy, piano-focused sample is a dead giveaway. Producing some of the most critically acclaimed hip-hop albums of all time, Madlib has arguably earned the title of the greatest producer to ever work in the rap game; titles like Piñata, Madvillainy, and The Unseen showcase innate skill and an unmatched ear for sampling. Similarly, Kendrick Lamar has been seen on all kinds of production, from jazz rap, trap beats, and more experimental beats; his versatility could allow him to perform effortlessly on any production. It would be a walk in the park for Kendrick to rap on an assortment of Madlib beats. A collaboration between the two would surely produce something up to par with the “greats” like Pinata or Madvillainy; Kendrick might outshine Gibbs or MF Doom on a full length album, if given the chance.
Drugdealer & Weyes Blood – Honey
Singles together like “Honey” and “Suddenly” show the two at their best, with serious harmony, catchy choruses, and an impressive spread of instruments. In fact, “Suddenly” is both Weyes Blood and Drugdealer’s most popular song; the two together are the epitome of indie music right now. The coalescence of Weyes Blood’s soothing voices and Drugdealer’s straightforward, folkish-indie sound creates a serene space for both melodic and harmonious music. There’s a sort of weightlessness that emanates from both songs they’ve done together, likely from the 60’s psychedelic influence coming from Drugdealer’s end. As Weyes Blood appears to take the creative reigns on both tracks, it might be interesting to hear Drugdealer show a little more dominance; a full length LP from the duo might provide the opportunity for the two to push their respective boundaries just a little more.
The Avalanches & Camp Lo – Because I’m Me
Plunderphonic, electronic group extraordinaire The Avalanches accidentally created one of the best rap songs of 2016 with their guest feature from MC Sonny Cheeba of Camp Lo. As the group doesn’t specialize in hip-hop production by any means, they showed their ability to seriously create a catchy, exciting beat for Camp Lo to effortlessly rap over. The horns and vocals all over the track are infectiously danceable; it makes the track as much a classic Avalanches song as it is a new venture into rap. If Cheeba and other notable rappers collaborated with the Avalanches on an album – and the Avalanches stuck to production – there’s immense potential for an incredible rap project. Appearing on the same project that featured “Because I’m Me”, Danny Brown shows up for a short verse; it was really the first time we saw vocals on an Avalanches LP that weren’t sampled, chopped, or flipped – and it sounded fresh.
By some stroke of offhand luck, it would be pretty phenomenal if one of the artists mentioned here was reading this right now. If you are, you know what to do.
Most likely, you’re just somebody that likes to read about music, like me.
So, keep doing that.
Robbie Baker is .WAV’s playlisting director, he wrote the article. Hailey Honegger is a .WAV staff member, she made the graphic.