Gold Panda is back with another full-length masterpiece. Here, any gauzy soft-focus fuzz is stripped away. The music is still warm, focused on chopped-up samples, and delicious, meditative repetition. But it’s more focused than ever, with a dry directness that lets his musical craft come further to the fore.
There is some narrative and program explained on Gold Panda’s “Half of Where You Live.” Some of that is hard to miss – exotic percussion, clanging away as though you’ve ventured out onto the streets in some far-off city, references in titles and vocals to place. And there’s a sober comment on the pace of poverty in a slowed-down Japan. But while an interesting read, I don’t know that it’s essential; perhaps the album is even more more a journey into the imagined places of Gold Panda’s mind – a glimpse of the rhythms of the world and travel through his eyes, a travel log of motion.
And through all of it, there’s an ability to make repetition of samples into a hypnotic experience, a reflection on those samples.
The terrific tastemakers at ISO50 land the exclusive stream – I’m always gratified when it’s a focused blog with an impassioned audience and editorial that gets the love. (PR people, take note.)
I agree with their take: this is one that could be around for years to come. It’s worth clicking the ‘buy’ link, to get it on physical or even digital. Hey, I like my digital collection. I listen in the precious moments when I’m disconnected from the Internet, the value of cherished times that streaming services might not appreciate.
Gold Panda spoke to CDM last time round about his work. Sampling is the technique, but it’s also the feelings he attaches to those sounds that comes across. It’s as though there’s a single impulse between his finger tapping the MPC, the samples arrayed in Live being cued, and some kind of emotional cue that makes them mean something.