Thursday, 23 December 2010

1. Gold Panda - Lucky Shiner (Notown Records)

You can picture the scenario can’t you? You hear all this good shit about Gold Panda so you do some research on the guy and you think to yourself ‘oh here we go, yet another Electronica bedroom producer!’ and despite this form of dance music being very enjoyable to listen to there can’t be yet another up and coming, best new thing to come out of the scene can there? But as much as one imagines the predictably manmade house electronic beats and sampling, time and again one becomes mesmerised by the captivating multi talented, multi instrumental-sounding, warped dance fusion that is Derwin (No Surname) Gold Panda.

My first relocation of Gold Panda was a year ago when this buzz surrounding him started, having released the ‘Quitter Raga’, ‘Before’ and ‘Miyamae EP’s as well as various 7”. This followed on from me catching him on a live scale for the first time supporting the excellent Nite Jewell at The Cargo in Shoreditch and has since been performing many shows around London and across the world gaining a strong reputation. So here his debut full length LP. ‘Lucky Shiner’ has been eagerly anticipated by his band of followers and will no doubt rank him alongside fellow likeminded producers and musicians such as the already well established Four Tet, Caribou et al.

What this record does offer is a high scale sea of nostalgic emotions, all running through his Akai MPC2000XL sampler; the instrument that is the forefront of Gold Panda’s beauty. Opening with the albums first rendition of ‘You’, a track that later gets reprised at the close of Lucky Shiner, despite the fact both tracks contrasts in many ways. A track that involves various sped up renditions of the title word cut up instrumental loops to give us a standard setting album opener.

What makes this full length differ from his earlier EPs is how the sound expands its horizons across the dance music spectrum. American dance culture seems a prominent influence with the Chicago deep house reminding of ‘Vanilla Minus’, ‘Marriage’ and ‘India Lately’. Added to this, the Detroit Techno sounds of ‘Snow & Taxis’ in particular is reminiscent of The Field which is by no means a bad thing. So in that respect the album breaks away from the familiar hard hitting, sonic glitch production that we’re used to, and one that Gold Panda manages to portray so well. Further more, this release provides a range of tempo and dynamics, notably the relaxingly gorgeous acousticness of ‘Parents’ which gives ‘Lucky Shiner’ a chilled out album binding interlude.

Say what you like about the DIY aesthetic of electronic music. Gold Panda here has redefined the odds and created a masterful debut album that will put him up there alongside the big names in the movement. A record of pure bliss from start to finish that blends in a harsh, but subtle mix of experimental loops n beats. One last thing to add, and that’s if you get the chance to catch him in a live capacity. Do it!

Words: Freddy Rothman

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