What does it sound like?:
Minimal techno often brings to mind the chilly and precise sounds of The Field or Kompact. But in Gold Panda’s fourth album it’s something sunny and organic. The last track sums up this dual approach perfectly: Your Good Times melds a kick rhythm, a keyboard motif out of Philip Glass and a trumpet sample to create something simple and gorgeous.
If there’s a common theme to Good Luck and Do Your Best it’s a subtle exploration of sounds and textures inspired by a visit to Japan. Gongs, bells and plucked instruments add to the kind of soundscapes familiar from Four Tet or Caribou. The tempo is, for the most part, languid. These are beats for watching the sun go down rather than hitting the floor with – a cert for the ‘Chilled Beats’ sort of compilation.
Vocals are almost entirely absent, and when they are there there’re sampled and looped. Instrumental albums can drag, but this is a sharp and focused set of tracks, none of which outstay their welcome. The one track which feels underdeveloped is been and gone in under three minutes, and its repetitions are ones where change slowly unfolds rather than ones that lengthen a track for no good reason.
I like the simplicity and space in this record a lot. At its best it touches on the simultaneous delivery of melancholia and joy that electronic music can do like no other genre.
On emusic, where I got it from, there is also a companion ep called Kingdom just released that is darker and grittier in tone. It’s apparently inspired by Brexit and stories of anti-immigrant abuse. (Just checked and its generally available).
What does it all *mean*?
It’s harder to write about music without vocals or lyrics. Instrumental albums don’t have to be 79:00 minutes long.
Goes well with…
Sunset over a beach, headphones
Might suit people who like…
Four Tet, Caribou, the warmer side of Aphex Twin (and honestly is there anyone who prefers the glitches?)