Gold Panda – Lucky Shiner Gold Panda – Lucky Shiner

Gold Panda - Lucky Shiner

Lucky Shiner, the debut album from UK based beatmaker Gold Panda, is effectively the  culmination of over a years worth of hype and blog buzz. The releases of Miyamae EP and Quitters Raga in 2009 were met almost universally with frenzied hysteria. Who was Gold Panda? When was the full length coming? The hype was rife surrounding the enigmatic producer. As it turns out, he’s some bloke called Derwin from North London. And we may have had to wait a year for the debut, but Lucky Shiner certainly doesn’t disappoint.

Mr. Pandas’ early sound generally centered on leftfield electronica made up of glitchy beats. Nothing new there; what was novel however was the Indian sounding tinge applied to his songs. Together with a glitchy and at times fuzzy sound, the music of Gold Panda is perfectly capable of transporting the listener to a blissed out state of euphoria. Lucky Shiner flows; even a cursory glance at the track listing and naming implies some sort of romantic rollercoaster ride set against the backdrop of the Middle East. The opening and closing track are alternate versions of each other and share the same title, indicating we’ve come full circle somehow. This tendency for songs to flow into one another almost works against Lucky Shiner; Gold Panda is never going to achieve mainstream recognition or dancefloor credibility and really is an artist that is enjoyed best when one savours the minutiae of his work. At times Lucky Shiner is so complete it’s difficult to interrupt the natural flow by going back and listening to a track again, or skipping ahead to see which track it was that stuck in your head earlier.

Opener “You” is an accurate first step into the beats of Gold Panda, Indian vocals and nondescript background chips and chirps faint the first stroke in this distant haze of a soundscape. The heart wrenching “Marriage” shows that Panda can do introspective headiness as well as playful beat making. The synths used for the melody remain lush, yet throughout a greater heaviness bears down on the track.

The smaller moments are impressive, too. After unleashing the jolting “Vanilla Minus”, it would be simple to trail off into a wishy washy IDM track, or try and follow it up with an even more aggressive cut. Instead we are treated to “Parents”, an intimate acoustic guitar piece strummed over field recordings and snippets from conversation. Add the fact that the emotional closer version of “You” lays on the sci-fi electronics and vocals very reminiscent of Four Tet’s “Angel Echoes”, and soon the details in Lucky Shiner begin to shine through.

As a whole listen, its flaw remains the fact that certain tracks blend rather too seamlessly into each other, which makes for a good overall listen but afterwards leaves you unable to recall tracks of note. More tracks strewn throughout a la “Vanilla Minus” or the Axel Willner jam of “Snow & Taxis” would have provided more frequent punctuation points for style;Lucky Shiner. As it is, Gold Panda has still undoubtedly delivered an impressive debut, and much like his contemporaries Mount Kimbie he is making some of the most interesting, curious and beautiful electronic music out there.

Gold Panda - Lucky Shiner, reviewed by Lemon on 2010-12-02T10:43:50-08:00 rating 3.9 out of 5

Comments are closed.