After his last album as Gold Panda, Darwin Dicker thought he might have run out of aliases. The British musician has created three full-lengths of his to that name, sampling thrift store vinyl into wistful electronica that catches the light like a wheat field at golden hour. But after wrapping his third LP in 2016, good luck good luck, he considered putting his signature pallet on the meadow. “Look, the arcing 11-track album is over,” he declared.
Over the next six years, Gold Panda nearly took a dark turn as Dicker experimented with new ideas. He and Jas Shaw of his Simian Mobile Disco teamed up on his 2018 album as Selling, which had no samples but shared Gold Panda’s tender glow. But as DJ Jenifa, he chose club-ready house his banger instead. He wanders further afield as a semi-anonymous softman, trading his trusty MPC for esoteric software tools like Max and Pure Data, and ditching second-hand wax for bronze temple bells and cool, restrained minimal techno. into something as frictionless and practical as polished stainless steel. .
When the work, Dicker returns to his main project — along with some old habits he said he swore to. It’s full of bright harps, charming vocal snippets, and gently rocking rhythms that St. Dilla set in stone. the work It’s as lush and sunny as its predecessor. It happens to be 11 songs long, with a neat, naturalistic dawn-to-dusk arc. (Oops.) But whatever hopes of reinvention he once held, it’s hardly a bad thing for him to be back in his wheelhouse. In fact, Dicker is good at being a Gold Panda.
A lineage that follows Boards of Canada and Four Tet, this sparkling electronica lineage is getting more and more crowded and could easily turn into a pastel mash in the hands of less talented artists. But despite its laid-back loops and unpretentious vibe, Gold Panda’s music wasn’t easily confused with mood-based playlist fodder. The groove is too tangled, the tone is too damaged. There’s genuine emotion in here, and it goes beyond the overt nostalgia exhibited by the crackling of rubbing vinyl. Hangdog-like chord progressions and weeping willow keyboards clinging to the bittersweet air and drums suggest that he’s not just vaguely thumping his pads, he’s actively working on something heavy. .