Who is this Gold Panda? What is this hipster electronic music?

The likes of Resident Advisor seem to suggest a certain Axel Willner aka The Field, only dressed in skinny jeans and a Topman cardigan.

Well it does feel like we’re listening in on a young, angsty muso with a carefully assembled record collection, one dusty sampler and an illegal copy of Ableton Live – all prompted by one life-changing Four Tet/Caribou/Pantha Du Prince gig in his London town. No surprise, then, that Gold Panda joins the swelling ranks of such producers in a block party that typically presents its sound manifesto as obscurity and/or sentimentality. Much like this review of an album released in September last year, but whatever, man…

Good news is, Lucky Shiner’s embrace of such criteria has given us a charmingly sincere and intimate debut full-length. Its rigorously sliced and moulded textures reveal Panda’s obsession for every ragtag, hard-to-find sample. But these are sounds also steeped in varyingly inviting degrees of both sorrow and joy. The album’s greatest success yet is in adhering to such preoccupations of so-called leftfield electronica acts, and still standing on its own for, in addition, being superbly danceable. 

Shiner sees Panda’s sampling urges taking turns to function as both potent weapon and glaring flaw, veering him dangerously close to the repulsively overworked notion of ‘electronic music mashed with vague exotic Asian theme’. Take India Lately, possibly the album's poorest: a murmuring commotion of chants and sitar that culminates only in its own fizzing out, it's the one tune here with a ‘world music’ stink raised by Panda’s excessive fetishization of imported source material.

Then there are the moments which strikingly realise his widespread musical influences, like Same Dream China, where Oriental/Japanese marimbas and quivering lutes mingle in fluffy, joyous union:

Marriage, too, despite sounding less a celebration of matrimony than a fuzzy vinyl trip of nostalgia, features a notably forlorn koto riff that thankfully tempers the cheerfulness of atmosphere:

Together, the tracks represent a coherent effort that ultimately transports: whether to inner meaning and reflection, or the tacky schmaltz of misty-eyed edginess, remains subjective to the listener. But it is clear that Gold Panda is responsible for some of the most intriguingly beautiful electronic music out there, right now. Music suffused with vivid, moving and sheer emotion; affecting every tone and timbre of your heart, mind and soul.


01. You
02. Vanilla Minus
03. Parents
04. Same Dream China
05. Snow & Taxis
06. Before We Talked
07. Marriage
08. I'm With You But I'm Lonely
09. After We Talked
10. India Lately
11. You
12. Greek Style *
13. Casio Daisy *
14. Rush Job #

* Digital only
# Digital and only from

By | θ23
Tags | Techno , Dubstep , Reviews - Albums , IDM

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