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Lucky Shiner
Gold Panda Lucky Shiner
Released 12 October 2010
Producer Derwin Panda
Label Ghostly International
Length 47:05
Genre Electronic
Website iamgoldpanda.com

There is a certain mystique that surrounds Gold Panda, a man who gives the even less likely ‘Derwin Panda’ when asked for his real name. The personal information available is kept to a minimum, we know he’s thirty, he attended the School of Oriental and Asian Studies in the University of London and spent some time living in Japan. Perhaps even this information should be taken with a pinch of salt but what we do know is that this Essex based producer is creating quite a stir with his oriental influenced, sample based music.

Lucky Shiner takes a huge number of samples salvaged from old videos found in thrift stores and from records nobody remembers, sticks them in a blender and comes out the other side with a sound that is mellow yet erratic. The loops are syncopated, becoming both the tune and the rhythm, creating a stop-start effect to some of the songs, most noticeably with 'Vanilla Minus' or 'Snow & Taxis', two songs you won't want to try dancing to until you know them inside out.

The eastern influences are obvious throughout but come to the forefront in the appropriately named 'Same Dream China' and 'India Lately', where the woodwind of China and the strings of India are brought up to date while still remaining faithful to the original sound.

There’s a nice symmetry to the album, 'Before We Talked' is followed up three tracks later by 'After We Talked', the theme of a love gone bad suggested in the evocative titles. The opening and closing tracks are both called 'You', the same name but different sentiments. The opening 'You' is upbeat and hopeful, the closing 'You' is more  downbeat and deflated, again suggesting the lifespan of a failed love.

Lucky Shiner might not become a mainstay of the local nightclubs or be the first album you reach for on a late night session but thankfully this album can stand on its own away from the usual haunts of dance music. This is an album with a really unique sound and structure that makes just as much sense when listened to through a set of headphones as it would getting blasted out in a club.

- Brian Kinsella