I have watched as some critics have savaged this while others have given it no more than a tepid response and I think I may know why. Some people like music that satisfies them from the very first listen, like movie-goers who need lots of explosions and gunfights to keep them happy. This album is a grower and takes repeated listens before the magic begins to shine through. Also, it is an album of many many parts so if you are looking for something that is light and compact and sticks to a basic theme throughout then again you might be disappointed. This is an album that will take you on a journey through Jazz, into Bluegrass territory, on to Country plains, through World, a touch of New Age, heaps of Celtic music and Folk and the odd dollop of Rap, Hip Hop and even Classical music on the way. This is a beautiful album, lovingly worked and executed. It is not a borefest as some would have you believe but you do need to sit down somewhere and allow it to wash over you and only then will you sense the themes running through it and not see it as a pretentious and disjointed mess. I see things in colours and so I can see where the band have wanted to go and the steps taken are quite logical but this is music for all the senses, not just one or two. I love this album. It's a masterpiece.
Bela Fleck is the world's greatest banjo player, and the Flecktones are a pretty remarkable bunch of musicians. We're used to the band producing some pretty odd stuff from time to time, and Little Worlds is definitely odd. That's not to say it's bad - it isn't, but some of the tunes seem to be less about music and more about experimentation - experiments that should have been kept in the laboratory at Flecktones World Headquarters. There is some great picking in places, lots of innovation and some talented guest players to add their special touches to the mix, but the album isn't as good as Outbound, and it certainly doesn't have the brilliance and entertainment of the Live At The Quick DVD and CD. The liner notes say that this album was going to have been the band with no guests, but lots of people turned up and were found things to do... it shows. There are touches of brilliance, but this album could have been so much better. Disappointing, but Bela Fleck is still the world's greatest banjo player!
Banjo's used to be the 'B' word with me, never thought I'd enjoy them. Bela plays his banjo as if an elecric guitar which works wonderfully. The instrumental tracks ( by far the majority )are played by simply the best musicians, Glorious to listen to. I could take or leave the gimmickiness of the vocal tracks. But very good indeed, loved it.