By Terry Q
Aside from a handful of remixes and EPs, not much has been seen from East London’s Gold Panda since last year’s eastern influenced breakthrough hit, “Quitter’s Raga”. Marking his first venture into LP territory, Lucky Shiner, is quick to communicate that this was time well spent. The album consists of 11, tightly knit, electronic instrumentals (for the most part) that further establish and expand on the eastern-indie-pop sound Gold Panda has surrounded himself with.
Describing this album as electronic hardly does it justice as the electronic sounds here have a certain level of human intimacy akin to those found in Rostam Batmanglij’s short-lived side project, Discovery. Where Discovery focused more on R&B style vocals than the electro-Oriental sounds accompanying them, Gold Panda places the focus primarily on the juxtaposition of cultural sounds with danceable, electronic music. Forming an ellipsis, the album opens and ends with the song, “You”, the latter being an alteration of the former. A welcome surprise considering both songs accomplish what they are meant to accomplish; the opening track, holding sounds in common with, “Quitter’s Raga” is a clear standout that will inevitably draw the listener with energetic and catchy arrangements and the closing track putting the album to rest by slowing the energy down a notch and bringing a violin into the mix. The acoustic based, “Parents” acts as another welcome surprise that opens with an obscure vocal sample and ends with the sound of birds chirping. It is a nice lead into the single worthy, “Same Dream China” which compiles many layers of Oriental sounds without ever becoming too busy. Lucky Shiner was released on 10/12/2010.
Emphasis Tracks: 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 11