Among many other things, Gold Panda's first full-length, Lucky Shiner, is a veritable curveball. The young Essex-based producer had unintentionally set himself up to join the expansive beat-scene continuum with the release of his "Quitter's Raga" single in 2009, and "You," from early this year. The music world thought it had Gold Panda pegged, and happily so, until this record surfaced. Within the first three songs of Lucky Shiner, a trio of different musical styles emerges: shuffling, sample-heavy beatscapes; preciously crafted micro-techno; and vivaciously homespun field recordings. Gold Panda harnesses those distinct sounds over the course of Lucky Shiner's 11-song tracklist with an emotional grace exceeding that of most other producers, especially those with only three years of experience.
Excursions into mesmerizing ambient techno make up the bulk of the album, and are at the core of its most rewarding songs. "Snow & Taxis" travels on an incessant pulse of bass decorated with layers of carefully diced audio—samples which make up the track's elated melody and still allow enough sonic space for the skittering snares to dance unimpeded around the thumping four-on-the-floor rhythm. Tunes like "Marriage" and "Same Dream China" apply similar approaches, and yield equally heartwarming results. In the end, Lucky Shiner stands as a proper introduction to a producer who cares as much about moving your body as he does your soul.