REVIEW: Gold Panda: DJ-Kicks
UK artist Gold Panda burst on to the electronic music scene last year with his debut release “Lucky Shiner” and !K7 Records‘ latest DJ Kicks compilation (tracklist below) is a great arena for Essex’s Derwin (the only real name he has released) to work his magic.
The hype around Gold Panda is big. He hit the UK by storm last summer at the Great Escape Festival and had a stint in the US supporting HEALTH and Autolux. He just recently finished up some dates in the US (including Moogfest) and unfortunately he had to cancel a New York tour stop due to the massive snowstorm that just hit the East Coast. All that aside, for the !K7 folks to give a relative newcomer to the electronic scene the reins to one of their compilations is a testament to how good the guy is.
What is great about this compilation is Derwin picks a great variety of music with so many different styles. There are tons of sounds put together so seamlessly it appears effortless as they work so nicely together in one cohesive package.One moment you feel the pulsating beats of a groovy dance track and the next you’re chillin’ out to some downtempo trip hop beats.
I really liked “2” from Giuseppe Ielasi’s “August” album and turned it into a beautiful, grand soundscape where the listener can lay back and enjoy the flowing sounds engulf them. He must have picked Christopher Rau’s “Do Little,” due to its hint of an Oriental sound along with a house feel. Derwin spent two years in Japan studying Japanese culture, language, and history. The dubstep artist “Sigha” is featured twith a peppy track appropriately titled “Shake” that will get you moving. The synthy, trip hop-ish “Godzilla” was pretty amazing as well. Closer Musik’s “Maria” followed it with a rapid synth melody and then evolved in to a nice dance track with heavy beat.
Gold Panda’s own tracks on this compilation were the hypnotic “Back Home” (with a very well done violin melody) and a newly released “An Iceberg Hurled Northwards Through Clouds” which also provides a great pulsating beat and some very interesting abstract chimes for the opening of the compilation. I heard quite a bit of a sound similar to Four Tet which I believe Gold Panda is heavily influenced by, made evident by the multitude of abstract sounds all working together as one artistic idea. It’s really quite brilliant!
What I truly enjoy about these compilations is finding out more about all of the artists the DJ selected to perhaps figure out why they picked the tracks they did. You can pick this one up NOW in the UK or November 8th in the US on !K7 Records and iTunes to find out more yourself.
1. Gold Panda – An Iceberg Hurtled Northward Through Clouds (DJ-Kicks)
2. Melchior & Pronsato – Puerto Rican Girls
3. Bok Bok – Charisma Theme
4. Drexciya – Andreaen Sand Dunes
5. Muslimgauze – Uzi Mahmood 8
6. Pawel – Coke
7. Ramadanman – Revenue (Untold Remix)
8. SND – Palo Alto
9. Zomby – Godzilla
10. Closer Musik – Maria
11. Gold Panda – Back Home
12. Christopher Rau – Do Little
13. Jan Jelinek – If’s, And’s And But’s
14. Nao Tokui – Monolith
15. Sigha – Shake
16. Opiate – Amstel
17. 2562 – Dinosaur
18. Matthewdavid – Like You Mean It
19. Brainiac – The Turnover
20. LV & Untold – Beacon
21. Autistici – Heated Dust On A Sunlit Window
22. Giuseppe Ielasi – 2