Review: Gold Panda – Half of Where You Live
Published on July 5th, 2013 | Jonny Abrams
Gold Panda continues on his second full-length album Half of Where You Live to reclaim the word ‘crystalline’ as a positive description of a piece of music.
When Rocksucker describes Half of Where You Live as crystalline, we don’t mean to infer any ‘Smooth FM’-style ’80s naffness on its part. No, we mean it’s a mesmerising assortment of jewel-encrusted twinkles and glowing synth bits; and that’s, er, only half of where it lives.
Its other half resides in a lysergically soaked-through district of clubland, having moved out from the happy household of electronica that is Gold Panda’s 2010 debut Lucky Shiner.
This extra added clubbiness comes wielding scrumptiously synaesthetic pops and clicks, rubbery rhythmic elements ping ponging about in the mix in a manner not dissimilar to Jon Hopkins’s new album Immunity, and this is all plied with a colourful Gold Panda topsoil. It’s a good mix.
Weird analogy thought it may be, it strikes Rocksucker that if Immunity was a donut – bear with us, here – then Half of Where You Live is a donut with sprinkles.
They’re both delicious, texturally and rhythmically, but one looks prettier. In case you’re wondering, the sprinkles are analogous with the colourful high-end elements that Gold Panda deploys with a Four Tettish (yes) panache.
Gold Panda also continues to make expert use of repetition, whether it be a loop of someone saying ‘Brazil’ in a seemingly offhand way, or the loop in “My Father in Hong Kong 1961” that chimes in a style classical to its titular location.
These repeated refrains are always given the space to work their hypnotic magic amidst the cross-sensory insulation, with “My Father in Hong Kong 1961” managing to sound like its title thanks to an application of Boards of Canada-like (Boards of Canadian?) sepia tint.
Elsewhere, “Enoshima” is a good example of how Gold Panda’s music bubbles and fizzes in a way that feels good-natured and excitable while retaining its otherworldly qualities, while “The Most Liveable City” glows, shimmers and whirs like something off God’s own late-night breakbeat mix (if He is indeed, as we are led to believe, a DJ).
Set-closer “Reprise” flares up beautifully, leaving you disorientated and eager for the next installment from this new titan of electronic music.
You know, what with albums from Autechre, Boards of Canada, Daft Punk, Disclosure, James Holden, Jon Hopkins, Matmos, µ-Ziq and others we might have momentarily forgotten, 2013 is starting to look like a vintage year of it.
Half of Where You Live is out now on NOTOWN.
Rocksucker says: Four Quails out of Five!