Before Gold Panda unleashed Lucky Shiner in all its nostalgic, sample-stuffed glory, the UK producer woodshedded, quietly releasing a series of EPs on Make Mine (UK), Avex (Japan), Various (Japan) and his own Notown Records. Even then, the hallmarks of the Gold Panda sound—static-y slices of recontextualized sound, soul-stirring chord changes, an air of heavy-lidded melancholia—were in place. For Companion, we’ve compiled three of Gold Panda’s early 2009 EPs ( Before, Miyamae, and Quitter’s Raga) along with one non-EP track (“Police”) into a seamless listening experience, a journey into the heart of one of the finest beat-based musicians around.
Companion opens with the cinematic “Quitter’s Raga”, a not-so-distant cousin of Lucky Shiner’s calling card “You”. Over the track’s all-too-brief two minutes, Gold Panda spreads Indian classical-music samples (sitars, tablas, sweetly chanted vocals) liberally over heartstring-tugging chord changes, evoking the fluttery feeling of spotting that special someone across a crowded room. “Back Home” (from the Miyamae EP) pulls its source material from what sounds like a late-night barroom slowdance—tinkling chimes, softly blown horns, trembling fiddles—and whips them up into a bedroom dance party. “Long Vacation” (also from Miyamae) opens with an unnamed speaker intoning “sometimes you make plans… sometimes they don’t work out,” and eases into a state of sonic confusion, all water-droplet percussion and frantic machine noises. “Win-San Western” (from the Before EP) smashes a gonzo drum ‘n bass rhythm up against a toy xylophone and somehow ends up with the chase music from an imaginary Sergio Leone film.
A fitting complement to Gold Panda’s inimitable full-length, Companion shows a restless Gold Panda searching for his voice and, like all good creative minds, reveling in the process. Lucky for us, the searcher unearthed more than a few gems along the way.
Hailing from Chelmsford in Essex, but now located to Berlin, Germany, Gold Panda started writing beats and collaborating a few years ago, beginning a journey that ultimately saw him nominated in t...check out Gold Panda's page and other releases