Gold Panda
Half of Where You Live


3.3
great

Review

by Jacob Royal STAFF
June 18th, 2013 | 71 replies | 8,272 views


Release Date: 06/11/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: “How do you feel emotionally today? Are you okay, or are you getting depressed?”

Gold Panda’s music has always been reliable for the vivid images it conjures. Lucky Shiner kicked off Derwin Schlecker’s journey into electronic music by drawing sketches of life on the road, and exposing us to one foreign emotion after another. Tracks like “Same Dream China” directly combated our fuzzy concept of sunset itself, instead telling us that the experience is just as much about the darkness emerging as it is about the sunlight receding. Elsewhere, the title of “Snow & Taxis” revealed all it needed to, exposing the hustle and bustle of the city-- and how it doesn’t have to be a bad thing, in the midst of all its traffic, to feel like just a number.

In particular, there was an overwhelming loneliness about the second half of Lucky Shiner, and an intimacy that Gold Panda himself has been trying to recreate for quite some time now. He’s come close-- in particular, Trust was a breath of fresh air-- and he’s been working steadily, from one small batch of tracks to another. All the preparation has been building up to Half Of Where You Live, the first full-length record from Schlecker in four years. And the album certainly has as much to say as Lucky Shiner did. There are some drastic style leaps here, from hazy downtempo tunes to outright house-- and the variation at hand works wonders with itself. Gold Panda knows the right way to pace lengthier releases (an aptitude that more electronic producers could benefit from having,) marrying the enthusiasm of the accessible songs with the leisurely build of the album’s lulls.

But while Half Of Where You Live is structured remarkably well, its definitive moments lack that magnetism that’s always been at the heart of Gold Panda’s music. Part of this can be attributed towards Schlecker’s newfound affinity for approachability-- he uses every device possible to make the release’s key points as memorable as he can. Unfortunately for Schlecker, it’s the classic case of oversaturation, where too many instruments reside in the foreground-- see the album’s centerpiece, “Community,” and notice how its main hook is front-and-key throughout the entire track. Other instruments enter the fold after some time, only to tug at the spotlight out of confusion. Gold Panda’s clearly confused about what he wants to express in songs like “Community,” but that isn’t even the album’s main issue.

The chief concern with Half Of Where You Live is its monochrome use of vocal samples. Initially, it feels like a petty grievance when considering the album’s egregious offenders have such fantastic backdrops. But in order for a song like “Brazil” to be as effective as it wants to be, it has to have more than a single sample of a man, presumably Brazilian, mumbling the country’s name. And this alone wouldn’t be a problem if the sample were a), used in a more rhythmically exciting manner, and b), used conservatively. Although the vocal samples, as clumsily executed as they are, technically are just one malfunctioning piece of the greater machine at work here, they serve a far greater purpose in the context of Gold Panda’s music. This inadequacy of Half Of Where You Live points out one important fact: this album needs a more level-headed voice at its forefront.

It seems that Gold Panda’s latest functions best when idling by, when it isn’t aping for the listener’s attention. Most of the record’s highlights enter the picture in the second half, in which Half Of Where You Live takes a subtler turn. “Flinton” introduces one of the most memorable melodies Schlecker’s devised thus far, and it operates through discretion-- the polar opposite of tracks like “Brazil,” where syrupy drums are only one of the important elements at hand. And before “The Most Livable City” really kicks off, a woman asks “How do you feel emotionally today? Are you okay, or are you getting depressed?” It’s the perfect way to segue into a song that doesn’t know how the hell it feels, with glitchy percussion and spacious synth chords reveling in their own confusion. The track is a far cry from the first half of the record because it doesn’t need to beg for your attention-- it earns it through perseverance. Maybe “The Most Livable City” spawns the most accurate picture of Gold Panda yet, of an artist who doesn’t need to tack frills onto his work to get a point across. Schlecker says enough through the way he carefully nurtures his music-- nothing else is necessary. Someone just needs to tell him already.



Recent reviews by this author
Every Time I Die From Parts UnknownBaths Ocean Death
Closure in Moscow Pink LemonadeSOHN Tremors
SZA ZTycho Awake
user ratings (52)
Chart.
3.4
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Omaha
Staff Reviewer
June 18th 2013



9951 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3

"Junk City II" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rKgNfR5xlM
"An English House" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6vrc_6IaRv0
"We Work Nights" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aV0Ky0ijGNc


Digging: Deniro Farrar - Rebirth

Rev
June 18th 2013



9371 Comments


terrific review man!

I still have yet to check this out but it's a bummer to see that it's probably not as good as I was expecting

Sleaper
June 18th 2013



3314 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

greaaaat review. rev, i like it much more than lucky shiner. But its pretty different.

Digging: Joyce Manor - Never Hungover Again

Ponton
Emeritus
June 18th 2013



5784 Comments


yeah i like this a good bit, but nothing stands out. its consistent i think all the way through though. a nice zone out

PunchforPunch
June 18th 2013



5829 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

neg

Digging: Horna / Behexen - Split

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
June 18th 2013



9951 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3

I seem to be in the minority on this album, so I wouldn't take this review as popular opinion.

And thanks guys. =]

Lucid
Contributing Reviewer
June 18th 2013



7018 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Don't particularly agree with the loneliness you find in Lucky Shiner. I find it to be a warm, heartfelt record about love and family (themes indicated by the the titles 'You', 'Marriage', 'Parents', named after his grandma etc.). I didn't dig this as much because it felt like a jam record more than anything, lacking the personal touch of his debut. It will sound amazing live but I don't see much reason to listen to it outside of that setting.

Digging: Braid - No Coast

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
June 18th 2013



9951 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3

Ali, I do see what you mean about Lucky Shiner. What I didn't mention in the review is how the album does start off as very warm, but it takes a detour about halfway through, around "After We Talked," etc. And I suppose those are the moments of the album that have stuck with me the most, just like with this record.

robin
Emeritus
June 18th 2013



4241 Comments


Don't particularly agree with the loneliness you find in Lucky Shiner. I find it to be a warm, heartfelt record about love and family (themes indicated by the the titles 'You', 'Marriage', 'Parents', named after his grandma etc.). I didn't dig this as much because it felt like a jam record more than anything, lacking the personal touch of his debut. It will sound amazing live but I don't see much reason to listen to it outside of that setting.


agree


yr growing as a writer so much tho

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
June 18th 2013



9951 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3

=]

luhv yew rahbyn!

FourthReich
June 18th 2013



17071 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

But in order for a song like “Brazil” to be as effective as it wants to be, it simply has to have more than a single sample of a man, presumably Brazilian, just mumbling the country’s name.

but it doesn't because this is the best track on the entire album. not only is this track magnificently produced but the loop of brazil puts listeners into a trance like state, a theme or feeling rather that can be felt throughout most of this album.

Digging: Dot Hacker - How's Your Process? (Work)

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
June 18th 2013



9951 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3

Eh, different strokes. I understand where you're coming from but the vocal sample disturbs the 'trance' for me entirely.

FourthReich
June 18th 2013



17071 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

clearly, as you nearly wrote an entire paragraph about it

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
June 18th 2013



30859 Comments


Agree with Lucidity and review

Perpetually agree with Robin

Digging: Calyx and Teebee - FabricLive.76

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
June 18th 2013



9951 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3

:'3

Yotimi
June 18th 2013



6436 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Prefer lucky shiner and definitely agree with the criticism of the vocal samples. But this still has that The Field with more color sound that I crave

Yotimi
June 18th 2013



6436 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Still even with the lazy vocal sample, brazil is awesome

FourthReich
June 18th 2013



17071 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeah it gets so much hate

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
June 19th 2013



9951 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3

Yeah Brazil is a fun song for sure, and I really love its drums. Couldn't find a way to work that into the review, but damn.

Sleaper
June 19th 2013



3314 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

"this track magnificently produced but the loop of brazil puts listeners into a trance like state" [2]

S950 is the best on here. So pretty.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2013 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy