Every year people make resolutions to make the upcoming year seem more important than the previous. I'm no different. I set goals for the year and I start working on them with a realistic time table. I can't think of anything better than discovering great music to inspire me and make my work pass slower. That's right, slower because I love what I do. At the beginning of 2011, I dug in my mental crate and remembered that I still didn't download any Little Dragon albums yet, so I downloaded the self-titled album, Little Dragon and their sophomore album, Machine Dreams at the same time.
I saw their name on the Gorillaz album, Plastic Beach, but I also saw a feature on okayplayer.com and I listened to a track of theirs. A little while later, I searched for Little Dragon and came across "Constant Surprises" (below). I was really impressed with them both times I heard their work, but I wasn't driven to pick them up. Right after the holidays, I grabbed both albums and I have been alternating between them non-stop. These two albums basically were in the background the whole time while I was painting a skateboard the I'm collaborating on with The Pizza Shop.
Little Dragon is an eclectic band from Gothenburg, Sweden and the electronica genre has way too many sub-genre for me to pin point theirs. So rather than categorizing them, I think my description on Twitter is the best I can do. "I can't stop listening to Little Dragon.....It's like the 80's gave birth to a Gwen Stephani/Nelly Furtado/Erykah Badu hybrid in Japan." That is based on the vocals and the diversity of music. The band consists of Yukimi Nagano(vocals/percussion), Fredrik Källgren (bass), Erik Bodin (percussion), and Håkan Wirenstrand (keys).
Both albums are so consistent that at times, I think they could be one extremely good, 23 track album. Don't confuse this to mean that they should edit tracks out. Both albums are edited, sequenced and produced extremely well and they flow really well from one song to the next. It's a credit to their creative process. On their website, it says they are working on album #3.....so keep an eye/ear out.
Little Dragon, 2007
Little Dragon starts off slow with a moody song where the vocals and keys carry you through the song. The album gradually picks up tempo to Constant Surprises and then slows back down, but the quality of the music never dips. By the time you get to Test, the music is back up tempo.
The song writing and variety of musical production makes it classic in the sense that it doesn't make you think of one particular era and the fact that it is representative of the Present. The album is like a Smorgasbord of styles. There are some songs where strolling high hats and bass lines set a cheery mood. The next track could have more of an 80's pop sound. And the following track could have a funky bass line and clap effect on the snare.
Machine Dreams, 2009
Machine Dreams starts off with a atmospheric, echo filled intro track called A New. Looking Glass follows up with an 80's pop sound (minus the bad British accent), a heavily electric track and slow it down by the time you get to Feather. In the right stereo system, Machine Dreams can really put out some rich sound (and bass!).
A lot of times when I try to describe music, I use words that I really hope you won't take literally. Little Dragon's music is inspired by many different genre, but it is a product of the depth in their music. Comparing their work to other styles, genre or songs only shows my desire to understand the guts of the music, not label it.
Little Dragon, 2007 Twice, Recommendation, Constant Surprises, Forever, After the Rain, Place to Belong, Stormy Weather, Test, Wink and Scribbled Paper.
Machine Dreams, 2009 A New, Looking Glass, My Step, Feather, Never Never, Runabout, Swimming, Blinking Pigs, Come Home and Fortune.