Gold Panda: Half of Where You Live

gold pandaGold Panda
Half of Where You Live
(Ghostly International)

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There’s a certain kind of music that, when you listen to it, seems to drain the color from everything you look at. One-man wonder Gold Panda’s Half of Where You Live brings us that kind of music, but in a way that’s far less depressing than it sounds, and makes even cynics who don’t “get electronic music” stop and crave another listen.

The album starts us off with “Junk City II,” a morphing mess of discontented sounds, which pumps you up in the most angsty way possible. Skip a couple and we’re at “Community” – perhaps the most listenable track – upbeat and overlay with a rhythmically whiny cry that could just as easily be a human voice as it could be something you contrived on Garage Band in 11th grade. “Flinton” dances in with steady synth beats and a twinkling of ethereal sounds that lead straight into a melody that resembles the finger-picking of an electric guitar. “Reprise” rounds the album out, surprising us with a rare R&B vocal – more clear and pronounced than any lyrics on the album, whose sheer instrumentalism makes audible lyrics of any kind a novelty.

If you’re lucky or unlucky enough to listen to Half of Where You Live in a public space like a train or a crowded discount store, you’ll find that something about it forces you to see the apathy of the faces that pass you, bringing it out in people’s expressions like a green shirt might bring out the color of someone’s eyes. And suddenly that apathy mixed with the twinkling mysticism of the music becomes gorgeous and sinister somehow, and something happens that no listener is immune to, even those who didn’t “get electronic music” before.

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