Little Dragon – Ritual Union
Label: Peacefrog (2011)
Genres: Synthpop, Neo Soul
Sounds Like: Morcheeba, FM Belfast
Review by TG Keas, KXUA Music Director
My first experience with the Swedish outfit Little Dragon was their collaboration with Damon Albarn on Plastic Beach – two slightly eerie, beautiful electropop pieces. A year or so later, Little Dragon has released their third album. The sound present here is a bit more synthesized than their Gorillaz songs. Lead singer Yukimi Nagano’s love for soul music is indulged quite a bit, leading to a sound that is unusual, but works quite well. Musically, the album is also compelling. The synthesizers are nicely balanced with the other electronic flourishes while Nagano leads the charge in a restrained flurry of lyricism and emotion. It’s cold and a bit foreign in its basic musical state, but the human edge is always softens the next moment.
The Funk Ark – From the Rooftops
Label: ESL Music (2011)
Genre: Jazz, Funk, World
Review by Zeek Martin
In the first release from Afro-beat infused horn-driven jazz-funk outfit, “The Funk Ark,” the listener is immediately offered a solid funk sound with radio in mind (each track is 3:46 – 5:16 minutes long) which morphs from one influence to another (think exodus from Africa to the middle of Central America and back again) in a seamless, danceable collection. The label, ESL, is Thievery Corporation’s label, and the production quality is beautiful and not over-polished. Each song has at least one early hook that will get your booty shaking, with more than enough interesting changeups to keep even the most jaded afro-beat-Latino-funk aficionado nodding their head.
Ilaiyaraaja – Solla Solla
Label: B-Music (2011)
Genres: Funk, Indian, Kollywood
Review by Stephanie Sullivan
Solla Solla is a compilation album from one of the most prolific musicians of Indian cinema. Over the course of 20 years, Ilaiyaraaja scored over 500 feature films. To date, he has composed 911 titles. Just check out his IMDB listing at http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0006137/. Solla Solla contains 16 rare and funky tracks from the “Maestro.” I highly recommend this album for its groovy Indian funk, wide ranging vocals, and Bollywood flair.
Zoogma – Recreational Vehicles
Review by Tyler Eck
Listen to these guys and you’ll think it’s just another electronic artist. See these guys live and you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find a 5 piece jam/electronica/blues/funk/fusion surprise. Some feel this album, taking to its name, can take you places and should be listened to in its entirety. Fortunately, for radio play, the album is split up into 8 tracks, each with a unique idea pertaining to the subject matter: 1) Not all music requires lyrics. 2) Electronic music made live is cooler than made by a DJ. 3) WTF IS ZOOGMA???