Deep inside an electronic jungle there lies a creature with a personality that is characterized by the unique sounds that it spews into the atmosphere. It’s those individualities that make up the sound of Swedish electro-jazz-pop quartet Little Dragon and the subtleties that keep their sound ever evolving within itself. The band, whose identity was discovered through creative frustration, returns with their third album on Peacefrog Records titled Ritual Union, an album that works within the structure of diverse beats, yet explores beyond those boundaries extensively.
The band’s 2007 self-titled debut introduced more of a Tribe-influenced jazz-based style of hip-hop production with tracks like “After the Rain” and “No Love,” and displayed how Yukimi Nagano’s soulful voice could caress itself into this dimension. On Ritual Union, “When I Go Out” addresses that concept of time-signature independency driven by the spanning drum pattern, along with the free entry and placement of Nagano’s vocals throughout the track. On “Precious,” the introduction of exotic sounds creates transitions that set new tangencies for the song to develop instrumentally. On the same track, a short mach-warp sounding synth answers Nagano’s voice as she sings over a bass, or possibly low end synth, line that eerily watches the listener, up to the point at which the piece travels into a pulsating stream of consciousness.
There is a separation on Ritual Union that divides spaced out soul with trance-like electronic orchestration, but there still exists a notable freedom beneath the music. The simplicity in each track’s core elements allow foreign sounds to make short cameo appearances, adding flavor to what is beyond the melodies.