Puff Dragon has given us a modern ambient classic.
A Welsh ex-pat who's lived in Japan for the past ten years, Steve Good is well-known for his psychedelic trance project Double Dragon, with two well-received albums on Phantasm and Plusquam. After several years of ripping up dancefloors with his full-on live sets, Steve found himself increasingly attracted to the more chilled sounds he'd come down to on Sunday evenings after playing at parties. This led to his new project, Puff Dragon, a more mellow, relaxed vibe that combined the crystal-clear production style that he'd picked up from trance with smokier, phatter beats and the endless echoes of dub. While still rooted in an electronic style, Puff Dragon tracks are notable for the live elements that carry the melodies, like the warm, breathy Indian vocals on 'Skin as Soft' (a remix of a Makyo track), or the ecstatic, ascending violin solo on 'Sazanami'. The album veers from the cinematic, epic rush of 'Qi Gong', all swelling strings and swooning Asian vocals, to the electro-dub echo-trip of 'Spacefunk', and the wash of electric piano and filtered breaks that closes things out on 'Shimmer'. While Puff Dragon's live sets are known to veer off into Orb-ish realms of 30 minute mixes, with all sorts of sampledelic madness in the mix, the album showcases the songs in tight, polished form. With the ability to combine phat, woofer-pounding low-beat grooves with clear, memorable melodies (and a psychedelic shimmer in the background.