Half Of Where You Live: Gold Panda's Ode To Smoke Filled Opium Bars

The Peckham producer is back with a new LP, but is it enough to capture the attention of the UK's growing electronic music market?
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The Peckham producer is back with a new LP, but is it enough to capture the attention of the UK's growing electronic music market?

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‘Gold Panda’ is a genius choice of pseudonym for the Peckham DJ. It is an embodiment of the style and sounds that flow throughout his remixes and tracks. The DJ, who prefers to go by his colourful stage name has spent the least few years building up a following by remixing for some of British music’s freshest acts and releasing a stream of EPs, vinyls and in 2010 a mercury nominated album, as well as popping up at festivals across the UK.

With electronic and dance music seeing a massive revival and an ever growing mainstream following, DJs are scrambling about themselves to find a niche in an already heavily saturated market.  Gold Panda’s upper hand oddly comes from his education. A graduate of the University of London’s School for Oriental and African studies, the DJ’s tunes are laced with eastern influence, with his signature track ‘Quitters Raga’ serving as his mantra. Keep it chilled, keep it eastern.

His latest album ‘Half Of Where You Live,’ continues in this vein, comfortably continuing his unspoken competition with chill-wave counterpart Four Tet. While both DJs produce music to soundtrack drug infused summer days, Gold Panda’s love affair with the Orient makes his soundtrack an ode to smoke filled opium bars, rather than strongbow in a park.

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The album is very much an amalgamation of the DJ’s style, with Asian sitars, cymbals and drums featuring heavily throughout along with voice clips; actually some tracks rely solely on the repetition of one phrase. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, I expect there will be those who reject the DJ’s work as walls of gibberish sound. However, for those who embrace the ambient compositions, ‘Half Of Where You Live,’ offers some of the best chill out tracks in recent memory. Tracks melt into one, creating waves of echoing noise. The DJ’s choice to add a crackling, vinyl style effect to the album gives it a feeling of nostalgia, as if it’s taking you back to a summer long ago, or as one of the tracks states, Panda’s father in 1960’s Hong Kong.

Full appreciation of the DJ’s work comes by seeing him play live. At last year's Field Day festival, after hours of downing Scrumpy cider and god knows what else, I stumbled upon a crowd of festival goers just, well, standing there and basking in music. Confused, I checked the schedule to discover that said revellers were engulfed by Gold Panda. I’m still not entirely sure if they weren’t all just mashed of their tits, but it is undoubtable that the DJ produces some pretty beautiful and immersive work.

‘Half Of Where You Live’ will undoubtably please fans of Gold Panda as well of those already interested in chill-wave or ambient house music. For anyone curious about the DJ, I’d recommend youtubing his remixes for the likes of Little Boots and Marina and The Diamonds. Love him or hate him, it is undeniable that Gold Panda is one of the most creative and intriguing DJs working today.