Recently my father has taken to harassing my sister, an electronic music enthusiast, with endless questions about her favourite genre. “What is this bass-step foot-dub stuff everyone is listening to? What makes this stuff, you know, good?” My sister scoffed and ignored him. This was a pretty effective way of avoiding my dad’s pestering, but she should have just handed him a copy of Mantrakid’s Dragon Lullabies.
Calgary-born producer and electronic artist Mantrakid educates us all on good electronic music and, for that matter, good music in general. Dragon Lullabies feels fresh and new, yet strangely nostalgic. His sound has been compared to artists Portishead and Beck, but Mantrakid still manages to put an original and progressive stamp on each song.
Dragon Lullabies sounds like a soundtrack to a video game, and takes listeners on a journey fraught with highs and lows — ambiance and funk, fusion and hip-hop. Every song is unified but offers distinct elements that keep you hooked throughout the entire record. Common elements include haunting chants, cool bass lines with pronounced instrumental melodies and punches of ambient sounds. The journey takes you from busy Latin-like jazz beats in the third track “The King,” to Medeski Martin & Wood-like keyboard tones in “The Imp,” all while maintaining a cool hip-hop element that lets you know it is still Mantrakid creating each track. Dragon Lullabies is an album that can’t be listened to piece by piece. You have to listen to it in its entirety to catch the many subtleties that Mantrakid has masterfully sewn together.
Remember to add this refreshing and introspective album to your record collection, and perhaps the next time family members are pestering you about electronic music, you can give them a valuable education with Dragon Lullabies.