It’s been three years since Little Dragon’s last album Nabuma Rubberband but you’d be forgiven for thinking they haven’t been away at all. In the lead-up to Season High, the Swedes became one of the go-to feature artists, collaborating with everyone from De La Soul to Mac Miller. It meant that even though they weren’t releasing their own material, we were still getting our fix of Yukimi Nagano’s effortless voice.
The collaborations pulled them out of their comfort zone and also elevated the work of producers like Flume and Kaytranada. With that in mind, we thought we’d take a look at their best collaborations since Nabuma Rubberband.
De La Soul - Drawn
De La Soul made their grand return last year with their record and the anonymous nobody… but the return was almost overshadowed by Little Dragon’s appearance on Drawn. The slinky, minimal track wrapped around Yukimi’s gentle vocals. De La Soul leave the vocal work completely up to them, making it one of the most haunting tracks on the album.
Flume - Take A Chance
Flume’s album Skin had its fair share of collaborations but it’s pretty hard to go past Little Dragon’s feature. The tracks was one of the more euphoric on the album, leading up towards the chorus with hopeful, climatic synths that float alongside Yukimi’s vocal. “Will you be the one to take a chance,” she sings, making you feel at ease and shattering your heart, simultaneously. When Flume’s trademark, glitchy beatwork comes in at the end Yukimi’s vocal is still there, as pure as ever.
Kaytranada - Bullets
Little Dragon feature on the closer of Kaytranada’s excellent 99.9% record from last year. Yukimi’s vocal is slow and measured while Kaytranada’s beat is somewhat chaotic, moving at a rapid pace. Still the two collide to make something both funky and hypnotic. The hook on this is also one of the strongest on the entire album with Yukimi singing, “sun don’t shine and we all know why.”
Mac Miller - The Festival
Little Dragon’s individual style is far from hip-hop but they still manage to shine on a very modern hip-hop record like Mac Miller’s GO:OD AM. They provide the hook on this album closer, providing one of the few moments where it feels like Miller is at peace on the record. Yukimi’s gentle touch seems to make time freeze before Miller smashes that with his frantic bars.
ODESZA - Light
Little Dragon often like to pull themselves out of their comfort zone with their features but that’s not the case here. ODESZA and Little Dragon are a match made in heaven as they both make transporting, melodic electronic music. Together on Light they made something beautiful, a wistful electronic track that sounds like it should soundtrack the resolution of a movie. It’s one of those songs that makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside, like everything is right with the universe.
Little Dragon's 'Season High' is out Friday. They released a new song 'Celebration' today which you can hear below.