Ritual Union

Click here to listen to Little Dragon's "Ritual Union" and "Nightlight"

2011 is shaping up as the year of abstract R&B: the Weeknd, James Blake and now the latest by this three-man, one-woman Swedish crew, who count Big Boi, Damon Albarn, Raphael Saadiq and TV on the Radio's Dave Sitek among their fans and collaborators. Their third set hits a sweet spot between the futuristic soul of their debut and the synth pop of 2009's Machine Dreams. "Brush the Heat" sounds like Sheila E. hittin' the bong amid electronic dog whistles. "Precious" begins as dubstep pop, then morphs into an off-kilter house jam. On "Shuffle a Dream," singer Yukimi Nagano seems to empathize with a superstar who — if she keeps this up — just might be her before long.

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From The Archives Issue 1136: August 4, 2011