"Lucky Shiner" by Gold Panda

Gold Panda
Lucky Shiner

Ghostly International
2010

Review

I spent ten hours writing code to this on repeat. I was working on this very site here that you are looking at right this very second (unless you are reading this via RSS - but that's like 8 of you according to my Google Feedburner stats - and like 3 of those 8 are robots...seriously, robots read this site). At the time it seemed the perfect music to get creative to. As it turns out, it's also the perfect music to make your inner Hulk feel like spacing out instead of smashing tanks.

I am passionate about this website and the music that we feature on it. I hope that that is evident. But as we continue to grow, we will meet many crossroads many of which I may not wish the site to take. So I will make every attempt to argue passionately against items that seem to be moving the site towards a direction I do not believe in. I would rather see this place shut down than to see it go in a direction that I didn't approve of. So tonight was one of those difference of opinion nights. After spending 10 hours on the weekend making incremental improvements to the site to this very soundtrack, I came back to it in order to absorb it's calming and peaceful influence.

This isn't put you to sleep music. Understand that fact, and you and "Lucky Shiner" will be on happy terms with each other. Yet, this is less of a "Beat Music" album and more of an "Electronic Midtempo Dance" one. "Vanilla Minus" is my case and point. Yes, this is still somewhat downtempo (which, in case you hadn't noticed is really the sort of music in this genre that I am into), but also more of a trance-like feel to it. For me, the best sort of electronic music has the capability to put you in a different state of mind without really trying all that hard. "Vanilla Minus" does this in spite of being somewhat repetitive. There's something soothing to it as well, that helps turn down the temperature on my heated ears (apparently my ears heat up when I'm upset...who knew?). "Marriage" also fits this category. In electronic music that borders on dance and/or trance the way that "Marriage" does, it's always a good thing when the repeating elements take longer to repeat and when they work in concert with the more dynamic elements to create a real sense of tension and melody. Well, that's what happens on this track. And it is all the more special for it. So much so, that this might be my favorite track on the album. It's basically competing with "Same Dream China".

There is true genius in "Same Dream China". It's in the virality of the song - to steal a phrase from the social networking world. It's about the co-mingling of elements that repeat very quickly layered moment by moment with other equally as ephemeral elements that come and go to create a rhythm against constant repetition all the while bringing about ubiquitous cultural references that make you want to listen to it over and over and maybe even share the song with a few friends - which is a fancy way of saying that this track reminds me China by layering familiar Chinese melodies over some repeating percussive elements and that I had to brag about how dope it was with all of you on the interwebs (which I did thanks to Twitter!).

So what's bad here? Well, nothing is bad. There are a few just OK moments where there just seems to be no real melody. I'm speaking directly of "Parents", "Before We Talked", and "After We Talked".

This is music you can be creative to and this is music that can make you come down off the anger fence. In short, it's the sort of album that makes me want to keep writing for this site so that I can tell everyone about it. The sort that makes the late nights, constant frustration, and daily reliance on coffee all worth it. I hope you feel the same way!

4.091 out of 5

Track Ratings

1. You (03:36) 4
2. Vanilla Minus (04:03) 5
3. Parents (02:01) 3
4. Same Dream China (04:14) 5
5. Snow and Taxis (04:40) 5
6. Before We Talked (05:20) 4
7. Marriage (04:41) 5
8. I'm With You but I'm Lonely (05:14) 4
9. After We Talked (03:39) 3
10. India Lately (06:35) 3
11. You. (03:02) 4