Tag Archives: Little Dragon

Video Rundown: Björk / Little Dragon / Pure X

I struggled to find a common thread between these videos, and there might not be one. A music video maven, a de riguer style, and a forbidden suggestion comprise this week’s Video Rundown.

Björk, “Crystalline”

Michel Gondry pairs up with frequent muse Björk for her “Crystalline” video. A vivid combination of stop motion and traditional animation, the clip is a dance-club version of A Trip the Moon (a film that has influenced music videos before). Gondry translates Björk’s lyrics literally: “crystals grow like plants” and “crystallizing galaxies / spread out like my fingers.” The result is mesmerizing; the song’s drum-and-bass breakdown particularly so.

Little Dragon, “When I Go Out”

“When I Go Out” on Little Dragon’s latest effort (Ritual Union) is sparse and ambient. The video by Italy’s Emanuele Kabu fills in the empty space of the song with a sensory-overloading video. A collage of discrete, 2D images layered to create movement and depth creates a GIF kaleidoscope effect (popularlized by everyone from M.I.A. to the Traphouse crew) that is as hypnotic is the song’s deep house groove.

Pure X, “Easy”

Shoegazers Pure X team up with director Malcolm Elijah for the video for “Easy,” the most upbeat track on their Acéphale debut Pleasure. The clip is built on fleeting glimpses of S&M (the theme of the album’s cover). But like their sound, the leather-gloved hands and stiletto heels are difficult to grasp. Instead of the fuzzy feedback of the music, however, the audience is awash in deep reds or the unnerving bleach of negative film.

EP Roundup: Nguzunguzu / Little Dragon / How to Dress Well

Remixed, remade, or rearranged, we are long past the point where songs exist separately from their other versions. Three groundbreaking artists demonstrate this fact on recent releases.


Ascendant masters of future bass Nguzunguzu have the honor of releasing the first EP on Kingdom‘s Night Slugs-affiliate Fade to Mind. There’s much more than namedropping here, though. The tracks bubble, surge, and sway with waves of bass, video game (not chiptune) synths, and big ass timpanis; the title of “Water Bass Power” is instructive.

Two remixes round out the disc. In true rhythm and bass style, Kingdom screws a Nicole Wray sample into the title track; contemporaries Total Freedom give “Wake Sleep” a violent, creepy edge.

[wpaudio url=”https://postcultural.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/water_bass_power.mp3″ text=”Nguzunguzu – Water Bass Power” dl=0]

Little DragonRitual Union

Little Dragon doesn’t stray from their sound on “Ritual Union,” the title track on their forthcoming album. The song bounces along with a slinky bassline, electronic chirps, ricocheting drums, and of course, Yukimi Nagaon’s silky smooth vocals.

Remixes from producers Maya Jane Coles and Tensnake accentuate different elements – the guitar melody and the percussion section, respectively – but the focus is on Yukimi (as is usually the case). Also included is a remix of “Nightlight” by Unknown Mortal Orchestra, who turn the song into a psychedelic tableau of Eastern-flavored rock.

[wpaudio url=”https://postcultural.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/ritual_union.mp3″ text=”Little Dragon – Ritual Union” dl=0]

How to Dress WellJust Once

The limited pressing Just Once gives R&B deconstructionalist How to Dress Well (aka Brooklyn artist Tom Krell) a chance to step out of the bedroom and into the orchestra pit. A tribute to a friend who committed suicide, the EP includes orchestral versions of formerly gauzy, ethereal songs from his debut, Love Remains.

Sinewy strings imbue Krell’s falsetto with an even greater sense of loss, heartbreak and sorrow. However, the beauty of these arrangements turns somber proceedings into something hopeful (or at least not as depressing as it could be). “Suicide Dreams 3″ will appear on the next HTDW album.

[wpaudio url=”https://postcultural.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/suicide_dream_3.mp3″ text=”HTDW – Suicide Dream 3” dl=0]

Little Dragon @ Liv, 11/22/09

Little Dragon, one of Sweden’s finest imports, returned to Liv on Sunday, after wowing a DC audience on the same stage four months ago. The band, fronted by Swedish-Japanese chanteuse Yukimi Nagano, is touring in support of Machine Dreams, the follow-up to their 2007 self-titled debut, released earlier this month.

A Little Dragon show is essentially a Yukimi show. With all due respect to keyboardist Hakan Wirenstrand, bassist Fredrik Kallgren Wallin, and drummer Erik Bodin (all talented musicians), the main attraction is clearly their lead singer. Yukimi, looking particularly nymph-like on Sunday, is a shark on stage: you have to wonder if she’ll expire if she stops moving, as she sings, dances, and contributes additional percussion to the mix. Her vocal performance finds her modulating and contorting her already unique sound, keeping the audience on its toes.

The band’s performance, much like that of the Foreign Exchange, is greatly enhanced by live percussion, supplemented but not supplanted by programmed ones. The hypnotic rhythms are given a greater sense of urgency than on record. And on Liv’s top-notch sound system, the overall sound is vibrant and powerful: you can feel the bass in your soul.

After taking the stage, the band launched right into Machine Dreams opener “A New” and never looked back. For the next 100 minutes, the band captivated the audience with songs from both of their records, seamlessly transitioning between both. The electronic swing of “After the Rain” was accentuated by Yukimi’s intense yelping. The band is tight, whether embarking on a junkyard percussion breakdown on “Test” or speeding up “My Step” for a better dance floor reception.

Yukimi’s stage banter is always at a minimum, but she did ask if the band could play “a song about nightmares:” Machine Dreams standout “Blinking Pigs,” a new wave tour de force with a killer synth bassline. Her crowd engagement is unparalleled, however, as “Looking Glass” finds her dancing through the crowd, tambourine in hand. It’s clear why she’s greeted with cries of “we love you Yukimi!” at all of the band’s shows.

The crowd seemed worn down by the end of the set, as only truly hardcore revelers were still dancing through the extended outro that ended “Runabout.” However, the encore provided the perfect capper, as the sinister bass rumble of “Wink” became a never-ending jam, transitioning to “Constant Surprises” and back to “Wink.” The band took hold of a house groove and didn’t let go. For fans of Little Dragon, a band that seems to have burst onto the scene out of nowhere, it can all be summed up in the refrain: “Constant surprises / Coming my way / Some call it coincidence / But I like to call it fate.”

Still haven’t heard this phenomenal band? Check out the Couch Sessions x DJ Supa Kool DJ Uncle Q mixtape, a Tribute to Yukimi Nagano. You won’t be disappointed.