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Gold Panda – DJ Kicks

17 November 2011, 08:56 Written by Sam Lee

Like his tubby, bamboo-scoffing Chinese counterparts, Gold Panda is something of a rare breed. Not only has he successfully secured the approval of the underground’s electronica elite, but he’s also managed to seduce virtually the entire blogging world in the process of doing so. His debut album, 2010’s Lucky Shiner, was a high-flyer in countless end-of-year lists this time last year – leaving music fans everywhere (myself included) gagging for more.

Right now, Gold Panda is more or less untouchable – a status that was only heightened further by his sold-out headline show at London’s KOKO recently. To be honest, this specially curated DJ Kicks could have consisted solely of him farting into a microphone whilst playing a dodgy version of ‘Chopsticks’ on an old Casio keyboard, and the blogosphere would still have been tripping over itself to pile yet more praise on him.

Luckily though, it’s a bit better than that. He wastes no time in marking his territory, opening with one of his own new tracks, ‘An Iceberg Hurtled Northward Through Colours’. Glacial and ethereal, yet vibrant and somehow frantic, it shows that Gold Panda’s sound has progressed and developed, but without losing the spark that made his early releases so special.

Drexciya’s ‘Andreaen Sand Dunes’ sounds as fresh as anything else in this mix (despite being more than a decade old), while the ambient ‘Maria’ by Closer Muzik sees Gold Panda acknowledging a duo that seem to have had a great influence on his own music. But it’s another one of his own tracks, ‘Back Home’, that is the highlight, followed shortly after by the dangerously funky bass line of Jan Jelinek’s ‘If’s, And’s and But’s’. Following this burst of energy, the remainder of the album sticks to a fairly consistent theme of chilled-out, minimal, pulsating electronica from the likes of London’s Sigha, Tokyo’s Nao Tokui and Denmark’s Opiate, until final track ‘2’ by Giuseppe Ielasi, which brings the mix to a gentle close with it’s soft, swelling synth strings.

It seems as though Gold Panda is physically incapable of producing anything that is anything less than stunning. Even though he readily admits that he wouldn’t consider himself to be a DJ, he’s done a sterling job with this mix. If there was anything to whet the appetite of Gold Panda fans in need of new material, this mix is it. Well thought-out and almost flawless, it is – well, let’s be honest, it’s more or less exactly what you would expect from Gold Panda, isn’t it?


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