In support of his fourth album, The Work, Gold Panda brings his warmly immersive electronica to YES this December.
Essex-born producer Gold Panda first caught attention back in 2010, with his debut album Lucky Shiner – a soothing, Eastern-inflected journey into the life of its creator, packed with quickfire samples and IDM rhythms that looked towards Warp Records in the ’90s. He broke through further with his dancier follow-up, Half of Where You Live in 2013. Inspired by world travel (including two years at the School of Oriental and Asian studies in Japan), this record saw Derwin Schlecker AKA Gold Panda continue his policy of taking samples from different countries and cultures and weaving them together into an emotive, majestic tapestry of personal history.
Gold Panda’s new record – his fourth – continues to timeline his growth as both an artist and a human being. The title of the album – The Work – is both a literal statement of the record that Schlecker took six years to make and a reflection on a more personal journey towards healing. In press releases surrounding the album Schlecker speaks about the various ways he’s worked on his mental health in recent years, from therapy to running to quitting drinking. Naturally for an artist whose music is so closely knitted to his journey through life, The Work taps into his experiences of therapy and self-care.
More widely it evokes the emotive qualities that have defined his career to date whilst also reaching towards something more bold and playful. Even though it’s electronica, it’s not quite dancefloor music, but then again his output has always been a little tricky to place. “I always wanted to do the ‘cool’ music”, Schlecker muses, “but I can only make the music I make, I suppose. I think that’s why I find making club music hard – I don’t spend enough time in them,” he laughs. “I don’t know where I fit in, and maybe that’s good.”
That said, Gold Panda’s live shows, by all accounts, take his tunes somewhere else – somewhere darker and heavier. “Gold Panda’s ability to deliver punch and beauty within a complex, undulating set is something few DJs can do, let alone producers”, said DIY magazine about his set at Electric Brixton a few years ago. Which begs the question, what kind of Gold Panda are we going to see at YES on 3 December? Given his new album’s focus on healing, might it be the kind of set that taps into a more contemplative, cathartic mood, or one that plainly brings the fire? Maybe a bit of both? Only one way to find out…