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Machine Dreams Import

21 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Import, September 3, 2009
$51.19 $9.04
Vinyl, November 3, 2009
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Little Dragon return with a spectacular second album offering in August, a pulsating electro pop epic that Prince would be proud of (only fronted by a beautiful Swedish lady with a sultry voice). A bold and surprising side/two step onwards from their self titled debut, released two years ago to great acclaim especially among specialist circles. Machine Dreams, with its nagging hooks and gloriously infectious tunes, should finally see the band break out into the mainstream.

Recorded in their home city of Gothenburg, Machine Dreams is a gigantic leap on from previous material but still maintains a distinct sound that can only be Little Dragon. Be it Yukimi s warmly inviting vocals, Erik s dextrous drumming, the vast array of synths and bleeps created by Hakan or Frederik s bubbling bass lines, together they don t sound like anything else around right now. The move towards a more electronic sound was a conscious one, as Yukimi explains; The title Machine Dreams seems obvious. These days, humans seem more and more like machines, and as technology evolves, machines feel more human and it becomes fuzzy and beautiful and science fiction-ish. We feel dependent on our machines to create and live, and their sounds reflect us .

Album opener A New breaks us in gently with a single whirring note on the synthesiser, an almost alien sound that gradually morphs into a slow, thumping bassline. Yukimi s vocals flow alongside Hakan s assortment of sound effects interspersed with militaristic drums breaks. A magical opener that sets the scene and seems to sink into itself, taking us with it, until the pace is swiftly ratcheted skywards with Looking Glass , the massive snare, crisp driving beat and experimental synths revealing the band s current penchant for the 80 s. This influence continues apace into stand out track My Step . Utilising a solid drumbeat that nestles next to jagged and playful synthlines, the track breaks down into motorik propulsion with a scuzzy techno bassline that Yukimi works with ease.

Upcoming single Feather finds Yukimi s voice at its most detached and blaze, seemingly nonchalant yet magnificently seductive. Backed by Hakan s keyboard atmospherics, the song creates a soundscape reminiscent of Tears For Fears more reflective moods. Gradually layering more vocals, synths, echoes and reverb, it builds to a quietly psychedelic, dreamy cosmic swirl. Runabout brings forth a mini Airto style percussive breakdown at the tail end of yet another Little Dragon pop gem. Swimming bursts forth into vision with stabbing keys and reflective bass alongside yet another wonderful vocal performance from Yukimi who sings of young love and now so many years have past, my memories as clear as glass . The song is over as quickly as it started, flowing into the next miniature masterpiece in the form of Blinking Pigs

The album closes with the stunning track Fortune , which has already caught the attention of none other than DJ Shadow. It s no wonder really, as the textured melodies blend with the drifting percussion, creating a blissful sonic mood. With a smattering of drums and bass and the magic of Yukimi s voice and Hakan s electronic dynamics floating on top, it s the perfect track to end this fascinating journey through Little Dragon s brave new world.

With disparate influences from Depeche Mode to Prince, LCD Soundsystem to James Holden, Dancehall to R&B, Jazz and Soul, Little Dragon take their place among artists who straddle many genres, yet somehow create their own and in doing so create sounds that make time stop (Yukimi). Futuristic yet somehow retro, Machine Dreams sees Little Dragon achieve something timeless; that elusive pop classic.

Review

Having toured relentlessly since the last record, Little Dragon found themselves to be very popular in the US specifically on the West coast. After sessions on KCRW s popular Morning Becomes Eclectic show, their album became the most played on the station after Radiohead. No mean feat for the little dragons from Sweden, especially when they did not even have a US record label backing their forays. The track Twice even got played on hit US show Grey s Anatomy, and eventually the band were brought to the attention of David Sitek who became an instant fan (as did notorious basement dweller DJ Shadow) and asked them to support TV On The Radio on their US tour in May 2009. --Bio

1. A New
2. Looking Glass
3. My Step
4. Feather
5. Thunder Love
6. Never Never
7. Runabout
8. Swimming
9. Blinking Pigs
10. Come Home
11. Fortune

Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 3, 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: 101 DISTRIBUTION
  • ASIN: B002H3EUAO
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #151,965 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Tom Paine on December 2, 2009
Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
Little Dragon is one of the best little bands around right now. Machine Dreams is more upbeat than the debut and reaches back to some of the best 80s sounds for inspiration, yet also feels futuristic and sci-fi, sounding like nothing else out there. Yukimi Nagano's soulful voice is the star here and she is ably assisted by three fine musicians. You must see this band's excellent live show to understand that as good as this album is, it is mostly an outline of the even more electrifying live versions of the tracks. I can't get enough of "Feather".
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Rafael Cova on December 21, 2009
Format: Audio CD
Little Dragon offers an interesting mix of electronic music that is supported with a dance beat but is still deeply rooted in pop structures. This combination is what makes this quartet from Gothenburg, Sweden stick out, as they present what seems like a complex sophomore outing in Machine Dreams, but in reality, it is a record that comes off very smooth. It is an easy and entertaining listen that has nice transitions from track to track and consistently will have you tapping your feet. At times, the female fronted band can be as poppy and beat heavy as Luscious Jackson but maintains a more atmospheric Sigur Rós vibe around every corner. Little Dragon is a group that needs repeat listens before you get the entire picture and Machine Dreams only perfects the sound they started on their debut and is well worth taking a listen.

The emphasis on atmosphere is made clear from the very start of Machine Dreams, as album opener "A New" begins and ends with electronic drones, as if to bracket the song in ellipses like an unfinished thought. The subsequent song, "Looking Glass", is firmer, more beat-driven, but as much as its groove is steady, as a whole it seems to wander. Motion and physicality is strongly implied by the rhythm, but the leisurely pace and subtly shifting keyboard tones indicate changes in setting, evoking a sense that we're stumbling around lost in some strange, beautiful city. This sets the tone for the rest of the album, which goes off on the tangents of different rhythms into other textural zones, but maintains a feeling of searching around for something, whether it is a person, a destination, a state of mind, or the right words to express some ineffable thought.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Akua Grant on December 12, 2009
Format: Vinyl Verified Purchase
This is a must have. I love it. I've been loving Little Dragon for a while now. Their music is produced with so much emotion and integrity. This is a little more upbeat almost Nu Disco then the last release. That's fine because they do it well.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By D. Rutledge on June 25, 2010
Format: Audio CD
I have been a fan of Yukimi Nagano from some of her other projects and truly enjoyed the first Little Dragon cd. So when I picked this one up, my expectations were pretty high. At first listen, I still favored the first cd, but after listening to it again, I am just IN LOVE with this cd! There are too many really strong tracks on this one and I hope they continue to put out great music like this. This gets regular rotation on my mp3 player (randomly shuffle with the first cd) and it just doesn't get old.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Techthusiast on May 10, 2012
Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
Just so groovy and delicious... I know that's totally unhelpful....

Sure I want to sit down, listen to, and analyze the awesomeness of every song... but that'll never get done and these guys deserve a 5-star rating while I'm dipping around figuring out the best way to praise them.

I nearly broke YouTube listening to their tracks before I was like "I've got to support these guys!"

If you're a fan of Little Dragon, collect them all.

So glad I found you.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Evening Star Logan on May 15, 2011
Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
I bought this album awhile back after hearing this woman's voice on Gorillaz Empire Ants. Excellent album. Jazzy, indie-ish, some electronic... rhythmic. Her voice is gorgeous, both on the album and live.

I hear they are coming out with a new album in June or July. I will likely put it on pre-order.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By L. Wassermann on November 24, 2009
Format: Audio CD
Machine Dreams is the second album by Little Dragon, and as such, for the vast majority of listeners, including myself, it will be judged in the context of expectations created by their first, tremendously successful album. Perhaps this is unfair, but it is nonetheless inevitable. If you're like me, and were captivated by the sonic textures and the variety of moods Little Dragon were able to evoke in their first release, you will probably find Machine Dreams a disappointment.

This album is a one-trick pony, and unfortunately that one trick actually serves as a distraction from what is perhaps Little Dragon's most valuable sonic asset: the voice of lead singer Yukimi Nagano. The trick is to create a simple ostinato, and then layer a seemingly endless variety of mostly synthesized sounds that seem to have been yanked directly from the 1980s. The band manages to create a mind-boggling array of composite sonic textures, but those textures don't translate into a satisfying variety of moods, as they did on the first album (think of the contrast of moods just among "No Love," "Constant Surprises," and "Wink"). In other words, the songs end up "feeling" the same.

The other problem with this parade of sounds is that instead of serving to support the lyrical or emotional content of the song, they draw attention to themselves and become the focus of the listener. In a few cases, the sounds are so disjointed or the production effects are so exaggerated that they dominate my conscious to the extent that I can't appreciate the melodic beauty that's occurring simultaneously in the song. A couple examples of this are the reverse gated snare drum in "Looking Glass" and the metallic percussive sound with incredibly thick, long reverb that replaces a snare in "Thunder Love.
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