Gold Panda - Trust EP - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Gold Panda - Trust EP

by Priscilla Eyles Rating:5.5 Release Date:2013-03-03

A new EP from Gold Panda following the sublime collage of sound which was his debut Lucky Shiner (2010) is a tantalising prospect. However, Lucky Shiner is a hard act to follow, so it's not surprising this didn't quite reach its heights. Then again, it is only an EP, so maybe it's unfair to compare the two.

This EP retains Gold Panda's signature tricks. It's not that much of a departure which is both good and bad; good because what he does is rather niche already, bad because it can get a little repetitive. The tensions between new and old sounds, and digital and analogue are there. The juxtaposition of hard metallic/diverse percussive sounds and soft ambient sounds are fully present, as is the tendency to use found-sounds and what sounds like random hard objects being banged on something/dropped, as well as unusual/ethnic instrumentation as loops.

The opening intro is rather a puzzle and sets up the EP to be something menacing which it decidedly isn't (one might say we can't really trust it. Sorry, had to be done). With its layers of white noise and noirish sample of an anguished female saying, "How could he do that to her?!", and a man saying something about kidnappers, it sounds like a sinister Boards of Canada. It is a shame that is only just a short intro because I like the dark mood it creates.

After this, it's back to a more chillout vibe with the first song proper, 'Trust'. It retains interest with its liquid sound (starting off with the sound of something being submerged), looping clatter of percussion, wooden (?) objects, what could be a bell tree, all of which slowly build to include warm brass and well-placed guitar arpeggios, alongside the trademark crackle and hiss, synth, and a digitally-altered vocal loop repeating the title. It is dream-like and meditative, but perhaps a bit too sedate after a while.

'Burnt Out Car in a Forest', with it's suggestion of mystery and tragedy, doesn't quite live up to it's title. Its droning, looping bell-like and metallic sounds recall James Holden and Four Tet, set a very laid-back vibe. It takes a little while to get going. Still, it does have an entrancing effect, and I can imagine it would be good to meditate to. An oriental wooden flute adds some colour, as does the frenetic 80s-style synthesised clapping sound which Gold Panda so favours.

The last track, 'Casyam-5902', also doesn't quite sustain interest. It has some interesting velcro/scratchy sounds but still plods a little bit with its child-like, simple, repeated synth-lines. Here's hoping GP picks up his pace a bit with the second full-length album.

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