Misanthropic maker of 'wispy electronica' Gold Panda has finally made an album. After tour stints with HEALTH, a series of singles and EPs (and some great remixes on those EPs too, check out Seams' gentle rehash of 'You'), he has made us one of the finest lunges into the depths of post bass electronica.

The talent that exists in Gold Panda is rooted in his ability to create songs that flow and ebb organically without the need for hardly any bass. He takes the mantle set by the likes of Mount Kimbie and James Blake and runs with it in an altogether more pulsing and soothing fashion; where the former two prefer to make atmospheres with slow transitions and a very conscious lack of the depth often adored by the current electronic scene, Gold Panda simply chooses not to use bass and instead of having a conspicuous lacking to create a darkened atmosphere, he uses it to create sounds that are organic and minimal. By denying us bass, like he does in 'India Lately', we get more of a feel for the bass; the pulsing sinking sort of feel between each beet is more effective than any bass sound could be there.

All through this album, we are gifted a look at the more positive side of bedroom electronics, sampling and crate digging. This is one of those rare albums that manages to sample all sorts of things, from old vinyl to acoustic guitar and drums to musique concrete, this approach has lead him away from what is normally associated with the bedroom scene (dark cityscapes and sounds) and into somewhere that embraces more of the avant-garde and sample based musical scene, something more based on the theory of minimalist music than music that makes itself minimal.

In creating this album, Gold Panda leaves no space in his songs. This seems odd for a minimalist sounding album, but the more you listen into his songs, there simply is no gap or time for silence. Everything is free and open, making songs that sound more like stream of consciousness. Taking the aforementioned 'India Lately' as an example, we are taken through the streets of India as a tourist: we feel the pulsing feel of the heart, a little nervous, there are unfamiliar sounds in there broken up by entropic drums and seemingly random sound bites, combined with the high pace, puts the listener in the mind of being somewhere new and alien and being excited and naive about it. It manages a real sense of security in the new and the unknown, a sense of optimism.

The album itself has a sense of a whole life story, a symmetry and a life in there. The album opens and closes with tracks called simply 'You', both very different tracks, and the listener can't help but wonder who the 'You' is. If this album really is a life, then the 'You' present at both ends could be a god, or nothingness or even just a sense of being. I know it's pretentious to posture such a question, but it really can't be helped, the journey travelled through this album is immense. Each track builds upon the last, and creates this life story. Just reading the track names, 'Before We Talked', 'Marriage', 'I'm With You But I'm Lonely' and 'After We Talked' tells a tale before the music is even approached. And just as 'Before We Talked' was laced with optimism, 'After We Talked' is laced with pessimism, with music breaking down and sounding uncomfortable with itself. And while 'Marriage' is happy and upbeat, it's also slightly more open and upbeat, as the progression of these four songs go, the music gets slowly denser and more self consumed, by the end of 'After We Talked' the song lines and phrases choke each other, making something overwhelming and inescapable. This building up of a life story of a lost romance in just these four songs is quite simply stunning.

And if these four are to be the adulthood as it were, then it only serves that the soft and undying beauty of the second to fourth tracks are to serve as the naivety and beauty of childhood. These songs lack the complexity and the depth that some of the later tracks do, but make up for it in atmosphere and care. They create an atmosphere of beauty and gullibility that only exists in children, it's open and it's carefree.

The only obvious link between all of the tracks here is the undying sense of vulnerability. None of these songs sound completely confident, they all sound slightly like they're shying away from making themselves completely known and confident - that is apart from the two tracks entitled 'You'. Both of these tracks show complete openness and confidence, a sense of nothing to lose. And they, for me, complete the album, an album that I like to think of as a life story and one that may well be autobiographical (or at least semi-autobiographical). Even the idea of a Lucky Shiner is oddly macabre and poetic, shiner either meaning something that shines (obviously) or a black eye.

To put it short, this is a simply stunning album, like nothing else out there. It's both a masterpiece of music and a masterpiece of storytelling, a story that's desperate but optimistic, an album that while bringing you down will also lift you back up again like no other.

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