When does the childlike become childish? Or, to put it another way, how much leeway does one grant to a work of art that sacrifices complexity to present itself in a forum that can, whether intentionally or not, be readily understood and enjoyed by a child? These questions are hard to avoid when listening to Lullatone’s latest full-length.
On Little Songs about Raindrops, his third release as Lullatone, Shawn James Seymour abandons the sine-tone-based approach of his earlier Computer Recital and fills the soundfield with toy pianos and glockenspiels. Each of the ten tracks here is like a miniature symphony, bewitching the listener with tiny strands and clusters of melody, while every so often there is a little splash of colour from melodica, ukulele, or voice. As the title and cover indicate, the music is intended to depict rainfall, which it does perfectly with its pitter-pattering melodic presence and nurserry rhymes.
The album’s twinkling repetitiveness recalls the minimalistic orchestrations of Steve Reich and, especially, Raymond Scott’s delightful Soothing Sounds for Baby. Like Scott’s electronic lullabies, Little Songs about Raindrops retains an air of stilled wonderment that transcends its childlike surface. My one-year-old loves it, and you will too.