Gold Panda – Half Of Where You Live (Ghostly International)
Half of Where You Live is Gold Panda’s second full length player, after 2010’s excellent debut opus. Gold Panda’s new effort sees a collection of songs, that by the artists own admission, represent a ‘city album.’ As you listen to this album, it does feel like a journey through different landscapes, created via some superb electronic music says Dominic Walsh.
Half of Where You Live opens up with ‘Junk City II.’ A distorted and schizophrenic opening gives leads into a standard dance affair with Chinese like trance overtures. The track is a hypnotic piece that progresses at a steady pace with the opening sounds segueing into a more standard dance beat that gives the track an excellent down beat tempo whilst keeping an urgency and excitement.
‘An English House’ has an off beat rhythm which is punctuated with plenty of chiming sounds and a mantra like vocal. ‘Brazil’ has more of the same but really brings home the hustle and bustle of a country like Brazil, with lots of electronic randomness, perfectly placed throughout. After the frenetic nature of England and Brazil, the album takes on a calmer guise on ‘My Father in Hong Kong in 1961.’ A simple sound motif played on traditional Chinese instruments repeats throughout as the synthesised musical layers build underneath. ‘Community’ has a brief tabla drum influenced introduction before another great downbeat piece of electronica hypnotizes and pleases your ears.
The album continues with ‘S950,’ which has a sound akin to King of Limbs era Radiohead. It’s minimal electronica and scattered beats make for more aural pleasure. The second half of the album continues with a lot of the same styles and influences. More Asian instruments are thrown into the mix, and beats make for more interesting compositions. This is most evident on album highlight, ‘We Works Nights.’ Album closer, ‘Reprise,’ is organ heavy. The same distorted background layers help close out the album in meandering fashion.
If downbeat electronic dance is your thing, Gold Panda‘s Half of Where You Live will be right up your street, regardless of where you live in the world! This is an album choc with interesting music and ideas. It is an album that can take you wherever you imagine in the world.
All words by Dom Walsh. More work by Dom on Louder Than War can be found here.