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Listening

When a Stunt Pair Is Not

Some pairings--be it of actors, candidates, or brands--are the most obvious of marketing stunts, designed to draw people in. When it's Kool Keith and Tom Waits, however, it's anyone's guess.

Stunt pairings come in all forms, be it award presenters, buddy/action flicks, or commercial endorsements. And who can forget those irascible "maverick" twins of way back before the election? I know, it seems like ages ago now.

When it comes to music collaboration, however, the question must be asked, is it a stunt pairing if both participants are already stunts in and of themselves? Regard the recent pairing of Kool Keith and Tom Waits on a track produced by NASA. (Not that NASA.) Kool Keith, aka Keith Matthew Thornton, has certainly made a name for himself as one of the more gonzo elements of modern hip-hop, having come up with nearly as many alter egos as he has albums. He's also, on rare occasion, been institutionalized. Tom Waits, well, the man simply is an institution, one that many have imitated, but none have achieved the same adulated, bonkers status. While Waits hasn't had nearly as many alter egos as Keith, he's certainly turned in a great performance or two.

What's most striking about the pairing is how well it works. The track, "Spacious Thoughts," from NASA's upcoming debut album sounds like it could easily fit in either artist's catalog. Considering the disparity of genre and tone of the catalogs in question makes this track a genuine oddity, but an exceedingly fortunate one. For those of us who occasionally enjoy a good howl at the moon, this is a real righteous kill.
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TMN Editor Erik Bryan is living the dream. He grew up in Florida, but he’s from all over. He likes playing chess, making cocktails, smarting off, and not freezing to death in Brooklyn, where he currently resides. More by Erik Bryan

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