Gold Panda: Lucky Shiner and Ruby Lounge
There’s very little that vexes my senses more than the sound of a radio struggling to find reception. Until recently, of a similar ilk, was the crackle of vinyl: I remember the hope in a bright new future without jumps and scratches when I bought my first CD. Yet whereas the irregularities of vinyl are increasingly nostalgically re-remembered and now peeve me less, the former continues to send me de-hinged. Consequently, Gold Panda, through making a pleasure out of crackles, hiss and static, has achieved the apparently impossible and for that alone I stand and applaud.
Lucky Shiner is an album dripping and soaked in gratifying interference. It won’t be the first thing that hits you as you listen in that other electronics and sounds are more immediate: the high-end pitch and stomp of opener ‘You’; the minimal tech-stabs of ‘Vanilla Minus’; the Steve Reich alike repetition of ‘Same Dream China’; the glitch-becoming-stuck of ‘Before We Talked’; the crashes and reversals of ‘I’m With You But I’m Lonely’; and the global samples of ‘India Lately’ (which comes across a bit too deliberately ‘I had a spiritual experience on my gap year’ for true comfort). But the hiss and scratch is there alright – a subtle over and underpinning that adds an unusually pleasing depth to many of the tracks.
This hiss transforms into something else, and more, when Gold Panda steps out to play live: all subtlety is disregarded as crackles mutate into shredding white noise to segue tracks together (along with, unusually for an electronica event, a few proper stop endings and a shout of ‘thank you’). In fact the whole night, last week at The Ruby Lounge, was characterised by change and renovation as Gold Panda locked himself into a set that was simultaneously construction and deconstruction of Lucky Shiner and other parts of his output. This on-the-spot mutation lent the evening a sense of occasion and mostly eased the inevitable visual disappointment of a be-hoodied bloke behind a Mac and desk of wires (although he did jump around a bit).
Gold Panda’s output is worth pursuing (the bonus CD Unreleased Medical Journal that came with my copy of Lucky Shiner is as good as its companion). And I’ve got a feeling that his best is yet to come. Buy Gold Panda stuff here.
There’s another more pictorial review of the gig here