ALBUM REVIEW: Gold Panda – Lucky Shiner

I’m going to get straight to the point, I’m that excited. The much loved Gold Panda, is streaming his soon to be debut up on, I like it when an album is streamed first, it shows the artist isn’t relying on hype to boost their album sales, and they are keen to get feedback.
Gold Panda’s “Lucky Shiner” is true to its name, more so the shiner, every track is as fresh as the last. The track-listing goes;

Vanilla Minus
Same Dream China
Snow & Taxis
Before We Talked
After We Talked
I’m With You But I’m Lonely
After We Talked
India Lately

It’s odd, Gold Panda, does not incorporate any vocals of his own, nor does he write lyrics, but the album manages to tell a story. This may be seen from the track-listing, but also in the music. I don’t like to look too deeply into music, but I really did feel it with this album.
The album starts with the blinding track that is “You”, which sets the scene for album to take place upon. Which moves onto what I can see as being a track that will get played in a few mixes, “Vanilla Minus”, the most distinctly dance fueled track, that has this killer stabbing synth, the main structure of which the track is built on. It also has this string like synth that sounds ever so oriental, giving it a nice feel to the track.
We’ve then got “Parents” which is an acoustic track with a natural ambience over it, almost like a break after the intense sounds we got from “Vanilla Minus”.
“Same Dream China” is kind of where the album starts to take off, with the fast paced glockenspiel and fragmented oriental sample, similar to that of “Quitters Raga”. It moves on to “Snow & Taxis” which has a nice bass and bell thing going on, making it a loud track but with a softer feel to it. Check out the video here.

“Before We Talked”, has this spitting bleep fueled beat, and gameboy style synth, which in a subtle way creates tension. Not like the tension you’d find to building up to a drop, but like tension you’d find in Hollyoaks, except far better.
“Marriage”, is definitely one to listen to, it has this fairly old school synth at the beginning, which perhaps shows Gold Panda’s 90′s dance roots, if there are any. You can definitely see Gold Panda’s obsession with oriental culture, with a chinese guitar riff that gives the song a certain feel to it. Its a good combo, one that isn’t heard enough in the electronic music scene.
A track like “I’m With You But I’m Lonely” has this distinct chill, its quiet and ambient, something you’d like to hear at a sunrise, yet it has this scatty drum over the top, which makes for an interesting mix of chill and upbeat electronica.
Then there’s “After We Talked”, which sounds similar to an Atari having a little moment to its self. The rustling tape deck like sounds are used like a synth, giving it that vinyl essence.
What’s really great about this album is that it incorporates all sides of experimental electronica and creating a sick dance track. This is shown best through “India Lately”, which has various samples playing into each other, over a bass fueled beat that drives the track to its live drum climax.
Finally “You”, so nice he used it twice. The second version of “You” is far more dance orientated, and has a lower “you” excerpt, its got a little bit of a DJ Shadow feel to it, with its rainy hissy and minor strings.
The variety of samples you hear in “Lucky Shiner” is refreshing, its something we are hearing a lot more in contemporary electronica, artists are searching further for that killer sample that makes the album. In the case of Gold Panda, every track has that sample. Rivaling that of Four Tet and Koushik, I’m sure that Gold Panda will be around for a long time.
Make sure you sign up to the mailing list to receive “Snow & Taxis” free, and hopefully find out where Gold Panda’s playing, cause that is something you do not want to miss.

You – Gold Panda