My Panda Shall Fly has a pretty clear affinity with a wide spectrum of creative outputs. He designed some t-shirts and they were cool. He has a totally enviable beard-hair combo. He's a model; but for the kind of stuff you actually want to own. The artwork he selects is stylistically varied, and thematically poignant. Then there's the balance he strikes between the kinetically focused tracks he DJs out, and the more conceptually resonant tracks he produces - the latter always experimental, experiential and stylistically nomadic.

What's immediately notable on 'Higher' is the effort MPSF makes to progress a beat beyond its primordial intention (simply dancing/moving), whilst also not eliminating its stylistic nuances. Multiple acknowledgements go to garage, house, and niche incantations like Skwee (think Slugabed or the Donky Pitch cohort), but as MPSF eludes to in the handful of interviews I've blithely picked at, production is less a process of redefining other work and more a process of conceptualising external ideas, soundscapes appropriated to individual feeling and perception, rather than any sense for burgeoning trend or clear genre pegging.

But that's difficult actually, because deconstruction is a very 'now' form of creation -- Machinedrum, Jon Hopkins, Oneohtrix Point Never each produce compositions that lean on numerous heritages' of dance, but are more inclined to make you think than booty-clap. In fact, much of the urban gruel present on Machinedrum's Vapor City is also present on Higher, as are the overtly mechanised/artificial soundscapes symptomatic of Hopkins or Point Never - and arguably these allusions aren't attributed to style pilfering, and are instead the inadvertent symptoms of the same modern epidemics -- be they social, cultural or political.

Talking of the EP's specifics is tricky gives it's constant state of flux. 'crac' moves from an intergalactic sense of space - evoked by blips of alien-tech and expansive beat work - to points of implosion that see the track fold in on itself, becoming close and intimate. The transition to 'Groupp mind' is undectable, yet somehow the tone turns more liquid - beats are refined, the whole ensemble infinitely more serious. And so the transition continues - oppressive urban textures swerve into liberal and introspective spaces, darker patches are gradually invaded by light and enrich slowly.

Really it's a game of boundaries; even the tracks titles ignore - albeit be it with a slightly vapid modern irony - convention or pattern. As soon as we settle comfortably on what feels like a marginally clear stylistic thread, we're thrown loose, things change, the trail reveals itself to arbitrary. We stop tapping and become concious of movement and shift. Sometimes that feels frustrating, as though hearing a long and exhausting chain of promos for a distant collection of feature-lengths, but in the majority its evocative, a powerful way to deconstruct and challenge.

Higher is a work in progress, and whilst that's part of its thematics it also leaves a sense of incompleteness. Much like this review.