A couple of weeks ago, Gold Panda released his latest EP, Trust, which was made available to stream via Pitchfork Advance. With a three year hiatus after the release of his debut album, Lucky Shiner, Gold Panda has dropped a handful of EPs and a DJ Kicks compilation. He’s been sporadically touring over the last few years but recently announced his upcoming headlining tour which will take place from spring through summer. With this announcement, it seems as if another album is on the horizon.
Lucky Shiner was met with small-scale critical acclaim. It was an electronic album set on telling a story and the roots of Gold Panda’s inspiration for music making. He explored relationships, his heritage, and his deep understanding of nostalgia. At times, it was met with a sense of longing, though the overall mood of Lucky Shiner centered more on happier notes of yearning. There’s an underlying sense of respect in where he came from riddled throughout the LP (the album’s name being a nod to his grandmother), and with that he created a musically rich and invigorating album.
Subsequent remixes and releases tended to stay on the side of rapid triggering, samples being repeated in different ways, and expert crate-digging finds for his sampled pieces. With his latest EP, Trust, he takes on a more developed style. It’s reminiscent of a Burial or Four Tet production but is still very distinctly Gold Panda in the execution and construct of the EP. UK producers have something else running through their blood when they create music – I don’t know how they do it, but I can always tell when music comes from there. It has deeper roots and this heavy energy to it that just resonates from their production technique.
The “Trust Intro” brings us back into a more traditional Gold Panda stylism, though is intensely dissonant compared to his more uptempo, lighter melodies. It feels like a Kevin Shields track, one which would blend seamlessly into the soundtrack for Lost in Translation.
He transitions beautifully into “Trust,” which breaks into a jazz infused hip hop, taking us on a groovier tour of the past. It’s a modern sound for a Gold Panda track, reminding me of Mosca’s production style, especially from his “The Way We Were” release. While it seems like a simplified melody, it still embodies a complex form which Gold Panda is highly adept at creating.
He explores a multitude of routes to take any one melodic line and explore it as fully as possible within the time constraint of a five to six minute track. He plays with synths, if my ear serves me right, a french horn, and quite a few different drum patterns which have a live sound to it, adding more depth to the songs.
“Burnt-Out Car in a Forest” feels the most like a track we would hear off of a release circa Lucky Shiner. It has more forward hitting hi-hats and grittier samples, not quite as smoothed out as the other tracks on the EP. It has a slightly darker edge to it than “Trust” which ties in nicely to the introductory track, but still works cohesively with “Trust” in that it stays to the same moving bass line in both tracks.
Closing out with easy-to-pronounce “Casyam_59#02,” it definitely takes down the overall tone of the EP. It’s a stunner and also very nostalgic, best suited with a glass of bourbon and a late night. He plays around more with melodies than he does with his signature drum beats with fantastically executed craftsmanship. It strikes similarily to his remix of HEALTH’s “Before Tigers” released on DISCO2.
Overall, the EP sets the precedent for a possible album release in the (hopefully) near-future. Gold Panda took his time cultivating a new style for himself which may leave some listeners unsatisfied, but really expands his audience to a new level. This is a time where producers like Burial, Four Tet, Jamie xx, and James Blake are pushing for deeper exploration of sounds and how those sounds work and harmonize with one another. Gold Panda is not jumping on a bandwagon, but is instead able to push his own style beyond its limits understand himself as a producer.
The EP is available to purchase either digitally or off vinyl from the Ghostly store, which can be directed from here.
Head over to Gold Panda’s website for upcoming tour dates – if he’s coming to your city definitely try to make it out for a show.
Words by: Rupa Jogani