An internet search for “Gold Panda” will spit out about as much as what sits in the search bar. A self-proclaimed social recluse, beat maker Gold Panda reports “never expecting to perform this music […] the idea of performing for people terrifies me.” Citing music as a largely private activity, Gold Panda’s sophomore work Half of Where You Live has certainly stripped him of any chance of remaining a bedroom beat production anomaly. The follow-up to debut album Lucky Shiner and a slew of EPs including this spring’s Trust, Half of Where You Live displays the growth of his gritty blend of sampled, asynchronous, staticy electronica.
Whereas many musicians refine their sound across records in favor of better production, smoother sounds, and settling down as a reflection of life experience, Gold Panda’s new work is noticeably edgier. In comparison to Lucky Shiner, the quintessential Gold Panda hit Quitter’s Raga, and Trust, Half of Where You Live drives more heavily on the beats, with more pent up energy looking to be expended. The twitchy rhythms and flickering melodies which have long characterized Gold Panda’s work have only become twitchier, now flicker brighter, and reflect on the intensity of Gold Panda’s ability to capture emotion in unique genre of music.
A curios characteristic of this album is that the techniques for creating his sound have not changed greatly – organic tones smashed with China cymbals, bell choirs, vocal samples, and punchy bass drums – but the overall feel of his music has become more powerful. Tempos up, heads down towards the floor, this is an album for introspection. If anything, Half of Where You Live feels like an intensely personal album, but for that reason it is also highly relatable.
Bottom line: a subsequent impressive work from Gold Panda with no shortcomings.