A collaboration between the guitarist from TV on the Radio and an ascendant R&B singer is no longer as unlikely as it once might’ve seemed. Yeah Yeah Yeahs producer Dave Sitek has often dabbled in funkier, sultrier sounds in recent years, whether getting to Little Dragon before Big Boi (with 2010 solo outing Maximum Balloon) or overseeing Neptunes alumna Kelis’ new Food LP. Indie-rock tastes have moved along with him — Los Angeles R&B multi-threat Tinashe‘s late-2013 Black Water mixtape was barely out a week before cracking independent-music blog Gorilla Vs. Bear‘s top 25 albums of the year; she has worked with Cat Power-remixing DJ/producer Ryan Hemsworth (and, hey, fellow R&B explorers FKA twigs and Kelela just got written up in The New Yorker).
“Xylaphone,” a Tinashe collaboration from Sitek’s new At Any Cost EP, is a deceptively casual meet-up: The spellcheck-frustrating song title and simple “xylophone, playing all night long” metaphor blossom into a fine, futuristic slow jam, as Tinashe’s flexible coo finds its way over Sitek’s icy snaps, alien whirs and Zen-master chimes. “I listened to the silence, I decided how to interrupt it, and then I chased that down until there was no more silence left,” Sitek told SPIN of his inspiration for the track. Tinashe is expected to release her debut album, Aquarius, later this year. Aside from booking several festival dates with TV on the Radio in the months ahead, Sitek continues to release music through his Federal Prism label.