Deep, Dark and Beautiful: Little Dragon and Lawrence Rothman Come to Fitzgerald’s
Leon casino, By Jacob Poulton
Little Dragon is a band a lot of us are familiar with. Hell, the show this Sunday at Fitz has been sold out for a few weeks now. Beyond their 3 albums, they have worked with heavy hitters Big Boi, SBTRKT, and DJ Shadow. I assumed that their fellow touring act would be something to see. I had never heard of Lawrence Rothman, so I decided I’d give his Soundcloud a listen.
Lawrence Rothman is different. My first thought upon hearing Montauk Fling was that he could probably do a mean cover of Haddaway’s “What is Love.” But his rich voice and incredible range pushed away that flippant thought.
I asked a vocal coach friend to tell me some technical stuff about his voice. He has an apparent 2 ½-3 octave range (F/G2-C5 in his Soundcloud offerings) and probably falls into the category of baritenor. If that means anything to you, you are better at music theory than me.
I can tell you is that it is impressive. He seamlessly sweeps from billowing low notes to clean and clear high notes that give his music an ethereal feeling.
To match his powerful vocals, he gives us airy synths and keys over some chunky R&B beats. I can see similarities in his music to Bonobo, Sampha, The Knife. To go back to the Haddaway comparison, his style of music feels like early ’90s club music. Everything comes back sometime, and luckily we have someone doing it well.
But Lawrence is more than just an amazing voice and synth-y beats. His use of music videos to extend his art into the visual realm feels almost like a throwback to a time when the music video was more important. Lawrence’s record label, Mamaroma, is owned by Floria Sigismondi, who gained fame in the mid 90’s by directing videos for the likes of Marilyn Manson, David Bowie, and Christina Aguilera. Lawrence takes advantage of this connection with his three videos directed by her. All of them feature her signature style of bizarre imagery and twitchy camera work. They left me wondering what I just saw, but also wanting to see it again. Like all good art, it’s complex and thought-provoking.
Rumor is his live act will feature a new and unique appearance and character each night. And if his costuming is anywhere near as good as it is in his video for Fatal Attraction we should expect to see something impressive.~
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