Ritual Union (Peacefrog)
Swedish electro-skitterers Little Dragon traffic in coolness, a tough balance when you’re not particularly cool.
Most electro-skittering these days comes with a retroactive feel (Washed Out) or a futurist aura (James Blake). But these sexy middlebrows come closest to an Everything but the Girl or a Roisin Murphy, who followed American beat influences like Timbaland rather than decidedly Euro drum-and-bass or trip-hop.
As such, LD command an aura that’s torchier and classier than Lykke Li or La Roux. Yukimi Nagano has put in vocals for Gorillaz, Raphael Saadiq and David Sitek, and she knows just how to curl around the hooky, laptop-lite environments here without breathing too heavily.
The best of the tracks (like the stretch of “Shuffle a Dream,” “Please Turn,” and “Crystalfilm”) will have you rooting for more uncool.— Dan Weiss, The Philadelphia Inquirer
After the shaken cocktail that was Wine & Spirits (2007), smoky R&B singer/songwriter Rahsaan Patterson returns to the game with a bigger, bolder mess of holy-rolling, synthetically silken, ’80s-ish soul and frank, loving funk.
Patterson has shown great depth and talent in the pop eco-culture. Check out the hits he’s written for Brandy and Tevin Campbell, or past Patterson efforts such as Love in Stereo and After Hours.
He’s an undervalued lover man on par with Maxwell, and he’s a music-maker/arranger on the level of a Raphael Saadiq. Bleuphoria is his best effort yet.
With guests as wide-ranging as gospel guidance counselor Andrae Crouch and lady singers Lalah Hathaway, Faith Evans and Jody Watley, Patterson investigates funk (and a solid, up-tempo cover of “I Only Have Eyes for You”) before hitting his dramatic, romantic stride with the falsetto-filled “Miss You” and the liquid, Loose Ends-like “6 AM.”
The ballads are sensuous (“Goodbye”), and, with Auto-Tune used only sparingly, the sound is marvelously human. But the strangest, yet most satisfying, move is Patterson’s take on big gospel in the self-penned “Mountain Top.” The loin-stirring devil might be in Bleuphoria’s sexiest details, but the hand of God is all over this new record.
— A.D. Amorosi, The Philadelphia Inquirer