Gold Panda

Gold Panda releases Half Of Where You Live on NOTOWN Records
(Ghostly International in America and Germany) on June 10th

Nearly three years after the release of his debut album, Gold Panda announces his second album Half Of Where You Live, released on his own NOTOWN Records (and Ghostly International in America and Germany). The intervening period saw Gold Panda touring the world multiple times around and absorbing influences and probing potential new avenues of creative exploration on a handful of interim releases, leading to what feels like the definitive studio return of the Essex-born now Berlin-based producer.
 
It was, of course, Lucky Shiner that propelled the unassuming south-easterner into a world of ever changing territories and accelerated life experiences. The blog buzz that surrounded portentous early EPs like Quitter’s Raga, Miyamae and You spilt over with his debut LP, a record that burst out from the bedroom and onto the dance floor with its wonky beats, chopped up samples and tech-flecked melodies. Gold Panda, who you might also know as Derwin, doesn’t mind admitting that this first flush of success - which saw plaudits across the board in the press and culminated in a Guardian First Album Award in 2010, as well as subsequent tours to the US, Europe, Australasia and Asia - encroached on his creative process at first (“I was trying to make 12 more ‘You’ tracks,) but this is an artist who thrives on his gut feeling and it’s a characteristic that imbues his music with a natural, cohesive flow underneath its bustling elements.
 
As such, Half Of Where You Live is a stylistic and thematic advancement from his previous album, additionally touching on but furthering the sandbox of ideas he presented on 2012’s ‘Mountain/Financial District’ 7” and March of this year’s ‘Trust EP’. It’s a travellers’ record in many respects, with track titles like ‘Brazil’ and ‘Enoshima,’ and the oriental sounding textures of ‘My Father In Hong Kong 1961’ and ‘We Work Nights’, indicative of Derwin’s often nomadic existence. “It was impossible not to be moved by the places I've seen and the people I've met,” he comments  “I'm not sure I'd really travel that much if I wasn't doing this.”
 
Yet this is more than a one dimensional scrapbook, with experiences of the recent present amalgamated with related memories embedded in the artist’s mind to create an almost hauntological atmosphere at times. He explains that ‘Junk City II,’ reflects recent excursions to Japan, but was conceived as a hypothetical soundtrack to 90’s anime and the films of controversial director, Takashi Miike. “These films depicted a post-economic miracle Tokyo in the 1990’s and there was a last days feeling in them” he explains. “It still lurks and I saw a return to that possible dystopia. I've seen people in Osaka walking around, jobless, mental, stricken. I think real desperation and poverty is returning; it’s quite scary.”
 
The whole album, in fact, is described as a “city album” by its maker, and it’s easy to see why. Though it flows with a trademark organic vibrancy, there are harsher edges, spoken word samples that cross over each other and increase the sense of congestion. It’s not always obvious, ‘S950’ for instance references an old AKAI sampler used by London jungle and hip-hop producers when Gold Panda was growing up in London (“THE choice for producers of the time, it had 10 seconds of sample time!”); ‘Community’ is reflections, through a chiming house-tinged odyssey, on cultural divides in the same city. ‘Brazil’ was made to reflect his arrival at Sao Paolo: “I wanted to make a track that soundtracked my ride from the airport to downtown” he explains. “The repetitive ‘Brazil’ voice sample is kind of like an excited chant bigging up the place, then it all gets confusing to replicate the traffic and buildings.”
 
Taking on this loose concept has meant a more conscious approach for Gold Panda – though crucially not at the compromise of the freedom his music has - “I've tried to really focus on just a few elements,” he explains. “I tried to avoid chopped up female vocals this time around, as it’s become pretty well done, and anything that was too solid structurally. Ultimately, though, you just you find your groove and settle into a sound and realize you only really need to please yourself.” He’ll be pleasing a lot more with Half Of Where You Live.
 



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