London born electronic producer Gold Panda’s sophomore album Half of Where You Live, released this past June, showcases his experiences jetsetting throughout the world for the past three years, and boy is it a treat for the ears. The album stays fresh yet minimal by sampling different vibes from South American, Asian, and European countries in tracks named like An English House, Brazil, My Father in Hong Kong 1961, and Enoshima.
Gold Panda admits that since the debut of his first album, Lucky Shiner, he hasn’t done much but travel, so Half of Where You Live truly is a reflection of his experiences and times abroad. Traveling isn’t anything new for Gold Panda though; he was born in London but raised in Essex, then lived in Japan a few years only to return to London for university, and two years ago moved to Berlin. With his travels as his main inspiration, Half of Where You Live contains an impressive range of different textures to convey Gold Panda’s experiences in all of the different cities. For example, in an interview Gold Panda mentions how Junk City II is meant to have a claustrophobic, dense feeling to represent a “sprawling metropolis on the verge of destruction” he often saw in Japan. But on the other hand, Enoshima, another track about Japan, embodies the ambient escape from urban life so many city-dwellers crave for (Enoshima is actually a “retreat” city just a ways outside of Tokyo).
Aside from touring and producing music, Gold Panda also manages a label company called NOTOWN Recordings and has also just finished a project designing clothes in collaboration with British clothing brand Lux & Noah. Gold Panda is obviously climbing up the rungs of fame quickly, and I’m excited to hear from him more in the upcoming year. Perhaps the best part of it all is that he never intended for his music to turn into his career and mentioned his happiness isn’t at all dependent on the success of his music; it was and is just a hobby and an expression of the life and experiences of this eclectic, down to earth British lad.
Throughout the many different feelings explored in Half of Where You Live, one message is central to the album: to go out, travel, and explore. Take a listen to two of my favourite songs below: