Gold Panda at the Echoplex

by Andy Chan

A Pounding Anachronism: Future vs. Ancient Ruralism
London-born, Essex-raised electronic music maker Gold Panda is a busy man. Having released three full-length albums and currently on a world tour, we got a chance to catch his DJ set at L.A.’s Echoplex this month.

A crash of drums and chimes as I stumble out of a cramped photo booth, collecting the poorly timed photos of rear ends in one hand and a half-drunk whiskey ginger in the other. There is a distinct change in the atmosphere—as if G.P. is ripping open a portal into another world.

Cunningly lulling the crowd of hip, young couples (either embraced or bunched up with arms crossed), holding their cans of beer while shoegazing into a false sense of security, G.P. unleashes his wavy single, “Time Eater.” It devours the crowed in a torrent of throbbing, lo-fi bass contrasted with a resoundingly clear vocabulary of bells and chimes that is thematic of G.P.’s musical repertoire. The crowd explodes, as if possessed, into dance. Heels step excruciatingly on toes, strangers’ sweaty arms caress and nudge one another’s, and cell phones are hoisted into the air, documenting a rare rift in time and space.

Drawing inspiration from the sounds of Japan—its rural landscapes and philosophy—G.P. fills the theater with a pastoral soundscape reminiscent of an Eastern world, one that is at once airy and expansive, but with a technological edge.

A cat-eyed show goer, Xochitl Reyes, succinctly describes the feeling of the night: “If ever I wanted to take someone on a first date, and I want them to feel me romantically—sexually—this is the wave I want them to ride.”

G.P.’s melodic ebb and flow connects the disco-ball bespeckled theater to a world that is futuristic and ancient at the same time. It is ritual-like and anachronistic; blending elements like the pure twang of a harp with trance-like drum kicks and snares, and rewinding vocal chants.

Though G.P. dabbles in the vein of UK garage, post-dubstep, and micro-house—reminding one of a marriage between Flying Lotus and Nujabes—the artist defies most genres by representing a unique synthesis between East and the West. He blends together two worlds—modern and ancient—and immerses whoever listens to his music in a limbo-like portal that surreally bridges the two together.