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March 11, 2013 | by  | in Arts Music | [ssba]

Music – Gold Panda at San Fran

It takes a lot to get the collared-shirt-clad lads of the San Francisco Bath house to dance like they mean it. On March 6, a bearded man from Peckham achieved this. Before I describe Gold Panda’s role in the night’s revelry, it would be a crime for me to not mention the badassery  that was his opening act: Totems.

Despite also being involved in angsty hardcore band Caroles, this kid has taken the time to craft a live set which perfectly balances hip-hop with warpy, dubby-420 goodness. I was also impressed with his surprise dropping of ‘Sandstorm’ by Darude. he hails from Auckland, so if you ever get the chance, check him and his harry Styles-hairdo out. now onto Gold Panda: the Japanese-speaking, ex-sex-shop-working Englishman, real name Derwin Powers. (Derwin, if you’re reading this, I will actually marry you just to have your last name.)

his 2010 album Lucky Shiner received much attention in the electronic music world, and he has finally come to New Zealand shores for the first time. His smooth tunes will easily set the mood fo’ u and yo’ gurl on a Saturday night, and the Asiatic influences in his music can be heard at their zenith in what is possibly his magnum opus, ‘Quitters raga’.

Sadly, however, the first half of his set didn’t scream out the eclecticism I was hoping for. While it was pleasantly chill, and definitely enjoyable to listen to, he didn’t venture far beyond repetitive loops and mixing in the odd sound bite here and there. Being entirely candid, I can find that kind of music anywhere on SoundCloud these days. however, it should be noted that he was making an impressive—and successful—effort at avoiding the blatantly computer-generated sound that most of his peers are guilty of exhibiting. In an interview with UnderTheradar he testifies that he is “bored of clean, well-produced music”, and his efforts to work on the fly indeed keep him sounding fresh.


As for the second half of his set:


Suddenly, the tempo was lifted, and he became more daring in his mixing. The aforementioned ‘Quitters raga’ of 2009 was, as expected, sensational, and the old age of the song probably contributed to his more confident use of it. Other highlights included ‘you’ and ‘Marriage’, both of which he experimented with seamlessly.

Despite my slightly pessimistic view of some of his set, the variety that Gold Panda achieved over the course of the night was superb. his bobble-head-style dance moves were also much appreciated.

3.9 / 5


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