Gold Panda’s debut album of glitchy electronic tracks, Lucky Shiner, is named after his Grandmother. The East London producer keeps everything in this album close to home, writing most of it while dog-sitting for his uncle. Bursting on the UK electronic scene in late 2008, after 4 EPs and countless remixes of big name indie acts like Bloc Party, Little Boots and HEALTH, Lucky Shiner is everything countless blogs have been asking for, and more.
The album kicks off with You, a heavily sampled track that bounces along happily after starting with a sound of a tape deck chewing up a cassette. This bleeds into the rest of the song, which at some points sounds like a CD that has started to skip. But instead of random skips that ruin a song, Gold Panda puts in every glitch perfectly to make a great track.
The albums features other electronic focussed songs, like the keyboard and snare heavy Same Dream China and a re-recorded version of Before We Talked, which appeared on the You EP. Throughout the album, Gold Panda also shows his acoustic side, mainly the Boards of Canada style interludes between songs. Parents is a nothing but an acoustic guitar and clips of some Japanese speech. India Lately blends together the electronic beats of Western hip-hop and sampled sitars and prayer chants. Gold Panda studied culture in Japan, and this shows from the Eastern influence all over the album, and it all works really well.
Every track seems to flow into one another, with help from the interludes and slow fades, but also the connections that the song titles make to each other: Before We Talked and After We Talked are almost two sides to the same song with recurring themes and beats; Parents and Marriage both have melancholic undertones; the album starts with You and ends with a reprise of the same song, but every sample is slowed down and twisted, changing the jumpy dance floor beat into a drifting, dreamlike haze. The album becomes a perfect soundtrack to walking home in London late at night in the snow.
Gold Panda has put forward a stunning collection of tunes, encompassing so many different emotions in a completely wordless fashion. Although a couple of the songs appeared on earlier EPs, they have been rerecorded or turned into extended mixed, making every song sound new, crisp and shiny.