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Gold Panda - DJ Kicks

Flaws are few and far apart.

The DJ Kicks series has been around since 1995, giving us mind-expanding and record collection enhancing looks into some of the best dance music that we would usually never hear. Since its inception, artists like Hot Chip, Four Tet, Chromeo and Tiga have crafted albums for !K7 Records’ brain child, taking their favourite artists away from the dance floor and popped them right at home in the bedroom. Naturally, it’s a formidable legacy for anyone to slot into.

Step up Gold Panda, the much feted producer who has been tipped for headphone domination long before his debut ‘Lucky Shiner’ proved he deserved it. Taking up the compilation challenge, he’s crafted a mix that pays attention to what appears to be every type of minimalist dance music you could imagine and compilation that has a sparse beauty.

‘An Iceberg Hurled Northward Throughout Clouds’, a new song by Gold Panda, is a hopeful glimpse at what lies in store for the producer, as scurrying samples crawl over a relaxed, chiming bassline and after multiple listens, it becomes apparent that it’s one of the best house songs you’ll never hear in a club. It lays the perfect foundation for an album that very rarely keeps itself boxed up in any particular sub-genre.

Don’t think that means it’s a disjointed listen though. Despite the multiple genres explored, the compilation works best when digested as a whole, with songs having a natural ebb and flow that reflect its creators own work. Closer Musik’s ‘Maria’, with its unrelenting bass and playful beats builds up perfectly to old Gold Panda single ‘Back Home’, whose samples sweep over the far more relaxed vibe.

Gold Panda also proves an adapt editor of other people’s work. Melchior & Pronstao’s ‘Puerto Rican Girls’ original version was somewhat bloated at 8 minutes, but here, all the core elements remain while Panda manages to discard everything that doesn’t add to the song’s charm. While each song maintains their core identity, they fit neatly into the overall musical mosaic that Gold Panda creates.

Flaws are few and far apart, although with a running time around the 80 minute mark, it may turn out to be a herculean test of your attention span. On top of that, the ideas start to dry up towards the end, but final track ‘2’ by Guiseppe Ielasi is a suitably fitting finale that makes up for this.

This volume of DJ Kicks proves that Gold Panda is just as adapt at structuring other people’s work as he is his own. It’s a listen designed for the early hours and the days which whistle by. It may not trouble that many dancefloors, but, as compilations go, it’s hard to see it as anything other than a hugely rewarding experience.

Tags: Gold Panda, Reviews, Album Reviews

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