The buzz has been building for fledgling Chelmsford producer Gold Panda for a while now, and after lauded remixes for the likes of Bloc Party, Simian Mobile Disco, HEALTH, and Lemonade (to name a few), as well as the release of some quality singles, Gold Panda has dropped his debut album Lucky Shiner on the cusp of autumn.
For those of you unfamiliar with Gold Panda’s sound, an immediate reference point could be imagining the gifted lovechild of Four Tet and The Field. But this is not to imply that Gold Panda sounds too much like either of these artists, just that his music evokes them. Therefore, beatier tracks like “Vanilla Minus”, “Snow & Taxis”, and “Marriage” will no doubt remind listeners of The Field’s knack for hypnotic loop-based techno. Yet what makes it different is Gold Panda’s talent for adding a distinct emotional element to his songs, one that is quite strong but doesn’t fully reveal itself until repeated listens.
Gold Panda’s ability to eke out emotion, coupled with a quirky, more abstract air, is where the Four Tet comparison comes in — with tracks like “Same Dream China”, “After We Talked”, and the already revered “You”, being excellent examples of this side of Gold Panda’s musical palette. “Same Dream China” is an early highlight, which features Steve Reich chimes that build on a loop, subtle bass, and a tweaked sample of a traditional stringed Chinese instrument.
There really is something infectious with Lucky Shiner, which simply comes down to the fact that it invokes an introspective yet warm mood in the end – one that seems to correspond snugly with the beginning of the autumn season. There are no lyrics throughout the album, but it still plays out as deeply personal, and judging by the track titles this seems to be the case. Hence, what we have is a smattering of Gold Panda’s autobiography thus far, told aurally, with a touch of his passion for Eastern cultures thrown in for good measure. “Lucky Shiner” is a solid and diverse debut, and worth every bit of anticipation and hype bestowed upon it. Check it.