Gold Panda - Hall Of Where You Live - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Gold Panda - Hall Of Where You Live

by Sarah Allen Rating:7 Release Date:2013-06-10

Rumour has it Gold Panda's new album title was originally going to be Around the World in Less Than an Hour. Instead, the Gold one opted for Half of Where You Live. OK, I made that up. However, his latest project takes you on a worldwide gallivant without having to find your passport, bother with packing or be molested in airport security.

The Panda, also known as Darwin Powers and 金大熊猫 on Twitter, is as intercontinental as his new material. Born in Peckham and raised in Essex, the Gold one told Dazed & Confused that the album "is mainly snapshots of cities [he] visited for 15 hours at a time" while touring for his last album, Lucky Shiner. Half of Where You Live is an easy listen which kicks off with a bang on the Japanese techno-style 'Junk City II', a sound that sets the tone for the rest of the album.

Later, it's off to 'Brazil', the first single from the album. Complete with a looped sample of a man chanting "Brazil, Brazil," the Panda says the track is "all about that excitement of arriving in a country everyone says is crazy". Then we're taken to the UK ('An English House') for a spot of nostalgia, over to China ('My Father in Hong Kong 1961') with a scaled-back sentimental ditty, then over to Japan ('Enoshima') and back to British shores in Yorkshire ('Flinton'). 'S950' is a tribute to the synthesizer, and it shows. A minimalist tune with hues of Aphex Twin, the track is a perfect oasis halfway through this dance album.

Most of the material sounds similar, which isn't such a bad thing as songs 'We Work Nights', 'Flinton' and 'Enoshima' confirm. And at times, you wish the Panda would stick to the sound. 'Community', for example, is jarringly repetitive, while not even an endearing sample of the Gold one's human girlfriend (producer/DJ Sofia Kourtesis) on 'The Most Liveable City', taken from a Skype conversation asking, "How do you feel emotionally today? Are you ok? Are you getting depressed?" can save it from mediocrity.

Now I feel bad. Darwin revealed a sensitive disposition in the above interview. "I find criticism quite difficult," he admitted. "If somebody says anything bad about me on Twitter it really gets to me." So go and find the nice Panda's account and tell him his new album got a 7/10 from the best music website in the world. You can't miss him; his page's background is a picture of a man munching on noodles in a working washing machine.

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