Gold Panda - Good Luck And Do Your Best

Gold Panda – Good Luck And Do Your Best

Gold Panda’s latest album takes it’s name from the parting words of a Japanese taxi driver, while visiting Hiroshima. This collection of tunes, made in Chelmsford, comprises samples and memories of his trip, along with accompanying photo’s from his travel companion, Laura Lewis. It’s been 6 years since his impressive debut ‘Lucky Shiner’, and his progression as a composer and producer is clear to the ears. His looped samples sound as though they have been cropped in a haphazard manor, but then skilfully woven together to produce dreamlike soundscapes that are rich in detail and interesting enough to make you keep pressing Repeat.

The East Asian influence is obvious in parts through native instruments and vocal samples that feel like a less tribal version of Forest Swords, blended with early nineties dance vibes. ‘Chiba Nights’ wouldn’t be out of place in a Carl Craig DJ Set – the housey piano chord stabs add an uplifting groove to the up-tempo 4/4 beat. At the other end of the spectrum, ‘Song For A Dead Friend’ takes a while longer to get your head around, further pushing the formula that he’s developed to prove he’s not shy of trying something a little leftfield.

‘Time Eater’ is the standout track with the sharp, multi-layered chimes of an oriental instrument, and an infectious beat, along with carefully selected piano notes and minimal electronic percussion. The intro grabs your full attention, like a grandfather clock at noon, leading to head-nodding rhythms and perfectly placed pads that tie everything together.

His 2013 album ‘Half Of Where You Live’ showed promise, but didn’t quite deliver, for me – except for the wonderful ‘Brazil’. This new album provides 40+ minutes of what I, at least, wanted to hear from Gold Panda – a long player that I can appreciate from start to finish, and then listen to again and again. It seems he just needed to take that journey so he could produce an album that can hold it’s own alongside the likes of Four Tet, Bibio and Jon Hopkins. I think he should definitely plan another expedition.

Release Date 27/05/2016 (City Slang)

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Peter Rea

I like to go see fresh new music at Manchester's superb selection of smaller venues, and then share my enthusiasm.