Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Future of Musical Collaborations Is Here

It seems like I've watched this video hundreds of times already and it still gives me chills. When I first found this video on Youtube (completely by accident mind you) I was shocked, intrigued, and most of all, excited for the new possibilities it creates. The video? A full-band cover of Nirvana's "Come as You Are." But that's not the cool thing. What's so brilliant in this rendition of Nirvana's classic song is that every one of these musicians is in a different area of the country (or the world!) and they put this collaboration together completely through Youtube and the internet. I'm reminded of the musical group Florence + the Machine, where the only real member of the group (as in Nine Inch Nails) is English singer Florence Welch. Using a rotating roster of musicians, Welch creates new sounds for every song and album, assuring her music to be some of the most experimental and unique in the modern music world.
Now I'm struck again by musicians taking this idea one step further. Gone are the days of the traditional studio where tracking is done and laid down as one band member plays and the others wait outside. With the tools of the internet and sites like Youtube and Facebook, we've entered a new arena of music collaboration that is sure to be of mind-blowing proportions. As I could say very poetically, I have seen the future of the music industry, and it's the internet.
The first of these collaborations that you have to check out is the cover of Nirvana's "Come as You Are." Featuring the musical talents of Niloy63 on lead vocals, jtodd900 on guitar, jakamake on drums, and with production and bass by tydogg2443 (yes, I only know these guys by their Youtube screen names, and I'm not phased at all by that), this cover of "Come as You Are" is one of the best I've ever heard. Ever.
The intro riff by jtodd900 and tydogg2443 is just as crisp and gripping as the original, albeit with a more prophetic twist to it, like Kurt Cobain's spirit is playing the chords itself. Novoselic's bass-vibe is completely ingrained in tydogg2443's bass rumbles, and as jakamake chimes in on the cymbals, it's eery to be listening to this as a cover; it almost sounds like the original.

But what pushes it over the top for me is Niloy63's vocals: gruff, serrated, and perfectly tuned for the song, Niloy63 could very well be the next great post-grunge vocalist to come out of the underground. His voice gives me chills as I can hear Cobain's wails in the chorus just before jtodd900 talks control and swoons into a blurry and surreal guitar solo. If ever there was a cover to put on a Nirvana tribute album, this is it. In the year of the 20th anniversary of Nevermind, there is nothing so surreal and epic as finding a cover that embodies completely Nirvana's soul and power.
But the cover of "Come as You Are" isn't the only cover by this group of musicians that makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. A couple of them also participated in a cover of Seether's song "Broken," which featured Amy Lee of Evanescence on guest vocals. For this cover, the lineup is TheTellTaleHeart25 on lead and acoustic guitar, Niloy63 on lead vocals, jtodd900 on rhythm guitar, chusma0 on lead female vocals, tydogg2443 on bass, and jakamake on drums. Again this cover blows me away. The collaboration between each of the musicians is so tight and easy that the flow of the cover makes it seem like their original composition.
The acoustic plucks by TheTellTaleHeart25 showcase a soft touch that builds to a blasting crescendo by the guitar solo later on, and with crashing rhythm support by jtodd900, the guitar section of this song is commendable at worst. At best, it's a tightly-knit flurry of notes and chords that takes me away in a storm of sonic progression. The rhythm section, made up once again of tydogg2443 and and jakamake is pulled-together to create a rushing and blasting feel at all the right parts of the song. Supporting the vocals of Niloy63 and chusma0, the guitar and rhythm sections of the collaboration are brilliant.

Just on top of the instrumentation are Niloy63's and chusma0's intertwining voices that create a fluttering tapestry of epic proportions. With Niloy63 adding to the song a gruff and edgy vibe, chusma0 lets loose with a crashing wail that exhibits this girl's incredible talent. If I were in need of a female vocalist for my band, this would be the first girl I'd go to.
Other covers like one of Audioslave's "Like a Stone" (featuring jtodd900 on guitar again, tydogg2443 on bass (and with production credits), Wannabesi on lead vocals, and jakamake on drums) and one of Alice in Chains' "Rooster" (also with tydogg2443 on bass and production, Pinner420420 on lead vocals, Craigman65 on lead guitar, and DCdrummer25 on drums) showcase just how far these new collaborations are going. What's most exciting, though, are the possibilities that I see jumping from these covers and collaborations. Now, artists can collaborate with each other, with anyone, no matter what the distance or obstacles. Soon the reality will be that artists are collaborating in musical and production projects all over the world, the the guitar player in Boston, the bassist in Johannesburg, the drummer in London, the singer in Toronto, and the producer in Los Angeles. The exciting new possibilities just over the horizon are mind-boggling: soon we'll see a new explosion of music the likes of which could never have imagined.
A new era has arrived. The music market we once knew will be history, replaced by a global music market-exchange system where any and every type of musical expression will now be given full coverage. Artists will now find each other and begin the create volumes of music with each other leading to forms of artistic expression not seen on such a level since the Renaissance. This is a new Renaissance in musical and artistic creation, and I can't wait to see what comes from it. This is going to be brilliant. 

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