Derwin Schlecker AKA Gold Panda is at it again. This time he’s brought reinforcements in the form of gauzy, modern hip hop and tasty 808 snares.
Let’s try, for a moment at least, to question the idea that contemporary music should be ‘eclectic’. It’s not that this writer hasn’t been guilty of using precisely this word ad nauseam, but that doesn’t mean that the notion that music should somehow embrace all the sonic material that’s ever been created in the history of the musical universe isn’t getting a little tired. For a while now, it has seemed as if ‘eclecticism’ equals quality and that the opposite is restrictive, perhaps even narrow-minded. Or course, it goes without saying that things are never this black/white. There has to be value in focusing on the essential. On leaving out that wacky sample of an African percussion master frantically playing the teeth of an alligator scull if what you’re aiming for is actually straight up techno.
Unquestionably, Gold Panda’s beat-driven sounds have on more than one occasion had the mentioned adjective tagged to them. And to be fair eclecticism does seem to describe his blend of crate-digged world music samples and tight drum programming rather well. Still, there’s always been a distinct underlying focus in Schlecker’s sound. A faint but firm indication of a singular voice with both the balls and the brains to deliver us from the current, pervasive tyranny of genre-hopping United Colors of Benetton-esque eclecticism.
Cue Gold Panda’s latest 7”, which he refreshingly brands as ‘modern hip hop’. It makes a lot of sense to these ears that the UK-based beatsmith has narrowed down his conceptual focus to hip hop. Because that’s, in all honesty, what it sounds like. You could no doubt write lengthy features dissecting the intricate, post-post-postmodern trickery that arises when Gold Panda’s very personal potpourri of old and new, East and West and soft and hard takes effect on the sensory system. And yet, maybe it’s better to leave things as they are. To tip your hat to the fact that Gold Panda has just put out two forward-thinking, modern hip hop tracks for your listening pleasure.
In any case, it’s nice to know that we can always count on Ghostly International to supply us with the latest and the freshest. Thanks, guys.