Review Summary: With every small release throughout 2009 and the first half of 2010, Gold Panda sure struck up quite a bit of interest. His debut album Lucky Shiner continues on justifying his potential, displaying an interesting mix of fresh ideas.
With every small release throughout 2009 and the first half of 2010, Gold Panda sure struck up quite a bit of interest. Releases of Quitter’s Raga
and Back Home
all garnered praise, and were fully deserving of any curiosity they piqued. Even featuring on a couple remix albums by Bloc Party & Ewan Pearson, Gold Panda has kept popping up with tastes of his hefty potential. Nearly a month after its digital release, his debut album Lucky Shiner
hasn’t exactly launched off as it should, though the praise received from indie bloggers and review sites is deserved.
For those unaware, British artist Gold Panda compares most closely to artists like Four Tet & The Field. His down-tempo style is perfectly displayed in the opening track You
, where chopped vocals serve as the hook over an evolving beat. There is no attachment to a single genre in the album, by no means conforming to any style of house, breakbeat or techno beats.
opens with sweet synth layers, before the steady beat launches the track forward about 50 seconds in. The song phases in layers of oriental textures for a few bars, before fading out and being replaced by new ideas. In essence Marriage
just builds different ideas on top of a repeating simple synth layer. Where some electronic artists suffer by driving home only a couple ideas throughout an entire six minute piece, much of Lucky Shiner
is in constant movement from the beginning to end of each song.
Where the first You
has chopped up vocals, track eleven (also titled You
) stretches out the vocal sample atop soft synths and a reforming beat. Others such as Snow & Taxis
and Vanilla Minus
push forward at a quicker pace, with the former hitting a couple of sweet spots and driving the mix of layers for a few bars before giving way to fresh combinations. In moments like these, Lucky Shiner
feels like a brother of The Field’s From Here We Go Sublime
but with contrasting song structures. At the heart of it these songs succeed in the same way as the two You
tracks, presenting a few simple layers in an ever-transforming series of blends.
In an interview with Pitchfork, Gold Panda stated "it would be awful to make an album of 'Quitters Raga's because I feel like I've done it now and that's enough of that."
is quite simply then a presentation of new ideas. Each idea may not strike a chord with listeners, yet there is enough minimalist beauty and delicious layering of sounds spread throughout the album to draw the listener in. Gold Panda’s quality in his multitude of shorter length releases has translated well into a solid debut album; yet like Flying Lotus’ 1983
, one gets the feeling more is to come.