Union Transfer

1026 SPRING GARDEN STREET, PHILADELPHIA, PA 19123 Ι 215-232-2100

Little Dragon

Little Dragon

Tycho, DJ Questlove

Tue, October 18, 2011

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 8:30 pm

Union Transfer

Philadelphia, PA

$15.00 - $17.00

This event is all ages

Little Dragon
Little Dragon
Gothenburg’s Little Dragon has steadily grown from being the biggest underground secret to international acclaim after four successful albums and touring all over the world. Their energetic live set and unique recording process has made fans out of some of the biggest names in music including Pharrell Williams, Questlove, and OutKast. Gaining popularity among such tastemakers led to collaborations with artists like Big Boi, The Gorillaz, Future, and SBTRKT. The release of Little Dragon’s fourth album, Nabuma Rubberband, is the culminating moment in their career after years of building a grassroots fan-base.

Musically inspired by the more experimental pockets of Prince’s back catalogue, club culture and the vintage Janet Jackson slow jams Yukimi used to listen to wandering around Gothenburg during the unrelenting winter, Nabuma Rubberband has a different feel to previous Little Dragon albums. “When you put some of Janet’s really slow stuff on you feel like you’re floating,” Yukimi explains. “That feeling really influenced me and maybe that’s why there are quite a lot of slow jams on the record. In the past we’ve been a bit self-conscious about making slow jams after ‘Twice’. Then we wanted to make dance music which we did with Machine Dreams and then Ritual Union still had a dance vibe, but with this album it wasn’t about that. The intention was about whatever we felt strongly about.”

Yukimi Nagano, Erik Bodin, Fred Wallin and Håkan Wirenstrand make up Little Dragon, the zeitgeist band that blend strands of R&B, electronic and indie into beautifully and meaningfully crafted songs. Over the course of three critically-lauded albums, Little Dragon have established themselves as a band keen to never rest on their laurels – constantly prodding and playing with the boundaries of their sound. Nabuma Rubberband, the band’s most dynamic album yet was released on 5/13/14 via Loma Vista Recordings.
Tycho
Tycho
For nearly a decade, Tycho has been known as the musical alias of Scott Hansen, but with the release of Awake – his second LP for Ghostly International – the solo project has evolved into a three-piece band. Reaching an entire new realm of sonic possibilities this time out, Awake is situated in the present, reaching Hansen’s vision of Tycho like never before. “This is, in many ways, the first true Tycho record.”

Following 2011’s Dive LP, the San Francisco, California based designer toured extensively, accompanied by a full band on stage, his sound coalesced into a percussive, organic whole. Zac Brown (guitars, bass) continued to join Scott on the road, but it was the particular addition of Rory O’Connor’s live drumming that ultimately sent Hansen back to the studio with a more precise vision for what the future of what Tycho could be. “After the tour, I decided that I wanted to capture the more energetic, driven sound of the live show on the next album,” Hansen recalls. Bringing musicians into Tycho’s creative process was a step towards expanding his own songwriting and advancing the project beyond its current incarnation.

In a cabin near Lake Tahoe last winter, Hansen and Brown began fleshing out the structure of the new record, but it wasn’t until they set up shop in the hills of Santa Cruz with O’Connor that it all fell into place. “It crystallized the vision of how the drums would come to the forefront on this record,” says Hansen. The sound was much more stripped-down and concise with live instruments coming to the forefront. Perhaps it was leading up to this all along, songs like “Montana” and “Awake” perfectly exemplify Tycho’s new, amped up, sound – unique to the group effort poured into the songs on the new record – while “See” and “Dye” echo ideas from previous works but with a clear with a view to the future. Working with Count Eldridge, who also engineered Dive, the team could fixate on the pulses that Tycho might have previously layered under synthesizers and exhume them with distinct bass and guitar patterns. Together they bridge an ethereal middle ground between old memories and new experiences, “While I grew up in California, I spent a lot of time as a kid in places like Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico and Montana,” says Hansen, ”I got back in touch with those areas over the past few years and they inspired me a great deal.” Hansen went on to build those images into the foundation behind the artwork for Awake, “I created the cover art to be a symbol, or a flag, to represent this fictional region comprised of idealized elements of all these western states.”

Also known for his design work as ISO50, Hansen’s visual and sonic efforts have dovetailed throughout the course of his career. “This is the first time in my life I’ve dropped everything to focus on one artistic pursuit,” notes Hansen. Previous Tycho releases came to fruition from Hansen’s delicate solo approach to constructing a song, tweaking each peak and valley, but ‘Awake’ is three like-minded people coming together where music becomes the sole purpose and true expression becomes the result.
DJ Questlove
DJ Questlove
Drummer/producer Ahmir Thompson is a living link between the digital science of modern hip-hop and the flesh-and-blood textures of vintage R&B. He co-founded The Roots, universally hailed as one of the most sonically inventive hip-hop acts.

Meanwhile, his collaborations with such artists as D’Angelo, Erykah Badu, and Common have reasserted the importance of real-time playing in a style dominated by sampling and programming. "I’m really into the game of making people guess, is it a machine, or is it him?" says Thompson, who also goes by the name ?uestlove (pronounced "Questlove"). One famous example is the Roots’ biggest hit, "You Got Me," which sounds for all the world like a programmed side stick pattern—until Thompson cuts loose with a blazing drum-and-bass groove. Like much of Thompson’s work, the passage is startling, witty, and funky.

"Hip-hop is based in rhythm, repetition, and perfect time," says Thompson. "With Roots stuff, I go for a more perfect, quantized-type sound than I would with, say, Erykah or D’Angelo. For D’Angelo’s Voodoo, we wanted to play as perfectly as we could, but then deliberately insert the little glitch that makes it sound messed up. The idea was to sound disciplined, but with a total human feel." For Thompson, "human feel" is bred in the bone. His father was the leader of the ’50s doo-wop group Lee Andrews and the Hearts, and Ahmir literally grew up onstage. "My whole family was involved playing the oldies circuit with groups like the Coasters, the Drifters, the Chiffons," he says. "I was playing percussion at gigs from the age of seven because my parents didn’t believe in babysitters. By 13, I was the musical director, and I stayed in that world until I got a record deal with the Roots at age 22."

But Thompson is quick to point out that he is no real-time purist: "In actuality, one of the biggest influences on my drumming is a producer and drum programmer named Jay Dee, from the group Slum Village. He makes programmed stuff so real, you really can’t tell it’s programmed. He might program 128 bars, with absolutely no looping or quantizing. When Q-Tip from A Tribe Called Quest first played me some of his stuff, I said, ‘The drums are messed up! The time is wrong!’ And when we did a song for D’Angelo’s record that Lenny Kravitz was supposed to play on, Lenny said, ‘I can’t play with this — there’s a discrepancy in the drum pattern.’ And we’re like, ‘It’s supposed to be this way!’"

Thompson relies on several Yamaha kits: a new Maple Custom Absolute, several sets from the early ’80s, and the Stage Custom he used with D’Angelo. But Thompson’s tireless studio experimentation is as crucial to his drum sounds as the instruments themselves. "I like to mold sounds like clay," he says. "Sometimes I put drums through a guitar amp. Or we might put mikes everywhere—in the room, down the hall, anyplace you might hear the drums. Sometimes we use just the farthest mikes, EQ them until they sound dirty enough, mix it all to one track, really compress it, and then bounce it to another track. We’d go around that cycle a few times—six generations, maybe."
Venue Information:
Union Transfer
1026 Spring Garden St.
Philadelphia, PA, 19123