Review: Gold Panda-‘Good Luck, and do Your Best’

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The artwork for ‘Good Luck…’

Inspired by the unique light that he discovered while exploring the city life in Japan (the title comes from a friendly cab driver) London-based artist Derwin Panda’s third album is bright, accessible but experimentally satisfying and true to his electro roots.

In My Car is constantly shapeshifting  and dreamily hypnotic, whereas the gorgeous Time Eater clangs and chimes with Oriental instrumentation, fused with beats. There is a feeling of transience throughout, a sense of the ephemeral and contemplative- the kind of zoning out that only comes with travel- slipping into a Zen-like state when gazing out of train and aeroplane windows.

Panda’s titles can be deceptive-Song for A Dead Friend , far from being funereal or even melancholic, is quite playful, with chittering, chattering samples, African drum patterns and a drum ‘n’ bassy vibe.I Am Real Punk holds a beautiful, Steve Reich-like motif throughout- an exercise in restraint and minimalism.

 Best of all, it’s an album of contrasts: Unthank has a wave of narcotic, woozy synth which seems like an old-school homage, belonging alongside early Boards of Canada and Mouse On Mars; whereas Chiba Nights is a house-infused banger with layering Oriental sounds that enrich the depth of textures. It’s so evocative, capturing the sound of blinking neon billboards, bullet trains and the otherwordly beauty of Japan- you need only to close your eyes, and imagine.

 

(Lorna Irvine)

 

 

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Derwin Panda in Japan- photos by Laura Lewis

Released on May 27th on City Slang records.

http://www.iamgoldpanda.com

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