ALBUM REVIEW: Gold Panda – Half Of Where You Live

Half Of Where You Live artwork
Half Of Where You Live artwork

ARTIST Gold Panda

ALBUM Half Of Where You Live

LABEL Ghostly International

RELEASE DATE 11.6.2013

8.2 | 10

Essex-born electronica producer Gold Panda made his presence felt in the EDM community with his stellar 2010 LP Lucky Shiner, proving himself to be one of the more compelling acts to emerge from the burgeoning electronica field. Since then, his songs have been reworked by artists such as Seams and Charli XCX, furthering the scope of the producer’s audience. On his new LP, Half Of Where You Live, Gold Panda broadens his scope further, crafting an album aiming for global conquest. The first three tracks work to various levels of success, with “Brazil” sounding like an obvious choice for first single in the context of the full album. It’s the most similar to his breakthrough single “You” off Lucky Shiner, as the track revolves around the song’s title much in the same way as “You.”

On “Community,” Panda plays true to the title in crafting a tune in which the smorgasbord of sonic qualities on display equal something akin to a communal gathering. That feeling of community is a major motif throughout; a look at the tracklist only confirms those suspicions. Much like Bon Iver’s 2011 album Bon Iver, most tracks reference a city or place, albeit here the inspirations are actual cities (except for “Junk City II,” which I hope is not a real place).  “An English House,” “My Father In Hong Kong 1961,” “Flinton,” named after a British village, and the Japanese island of “Enoshima” are all represented, as well as “The Most Liveable City.”

For the most part, Gold Panda is able to bring these spread-out locales closer than they have any business being, forming a sort of musical Pangea. Not coincidentally, “The Most Liveable City” begins with field recordings of birds chirping, the only sign of life found throughout the album. Tracks such as “Hong Kong” and “Enoshima” float through the airwaves at a pace that pulls the album to a halt, the rare moments where Panda’s globetrotting find the producer stuck in neutral.

But if those two tracks show the producer in a rut, “We Work Nights” and “Flinton” display Panda running at full speed. Perhaps the most potent one-two punch on the album, the two tracks remain firmly planted in reality yet provide the album with the most euphoric of moments. On the closing “Reprise,” a female voice sings, “If you knew how much I miss you,” a beckoning for Panda to return home from his journeys. As the track fades into the ether, you get the feeling that the voice is just as much a call to Gold Panda as it is the voice of the producer himself. There’s nothing like a good vacation to make you realize how much you miss home. Despite our desires to be unchained by place or time, we yearn for the places we belong the most. As a wise man once said, “if you go straight long enough, you’ll end up where you were.”

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