Gold Panda - You EP
It's interesting that Ghostly International signed Gold Panda's debut EP rather than shunting it off to the Spectral Sound, its dance music arm. While Ghostly has skewed more pop and indie in recent years, the Essex producer displays an obvious debt to leftfield dubstep and future (or current?) garage on two of his three tracks here. "Peaky Caps" is a flicker of white-noise percussion and pipe organ that wouldn't be out of place on Hotflush: it sounds a little like a Joy Orbison track, sans vocals, run through monitors wrapped in gauze. The digital-only "Killing Yourself on a Beach" is another syncopated stepper, though it definitely has ambient leanings—a little like a less-acoustic Mount Kimbie, maybe. It begins with a tight cadence of electronic toms and tuned rattle at a dubstep-compatible tempo, and as it progresses, it soaks up pop chord changes and eventually dissolves into a spray of percussion and delay. Four Tet and Caribou are obvious reference points, and not in a bad way.
The title track is a quite different affair, with a crisp, clap-centric beat that's somewhere between Dilla and 90 BPM house, springy and lethargic all at once. The melody comes from a sampled voice played up and down the keyboard in short bursts; it's a slower, spindlier sound, but I can't help thinking of Delorean, especially given its sunny sense of yearning.
Of the four remixes available on the digital edition, Seams' plucky slow-house version is worth a listen, and Minotaur Shock does a good job of turning "You" into the kind of cheerfully messy, psychedelic house jam you might hear in one of James Holden's recent sets. But Osborne goes above and beyond, borrowing only the faintest scraps of the original and writing a whole new track around them. As per Osborne's wont, it's a midtempo house track that takes a minimal drum groove and piles it high with contrasting keyboard lines. They're melancholic on their own, but the way they're thrown together suggests a cool kind of ecstasy, clear-headed and cathartic. As ever, Osborne's considerable production skills are put in the service of unusually musical instincts. It's a great time for slow-motion house tracks, and this is one of the loveliest this year.
Mon / 2
02. Peaky Caps
03. You (Seams Remix)
04. You (Osborne Remix)
Digital: You (Minotaur Shock Remix)
Digital: You (Dam Mantle Remix)
Digital: Killing Yourself On A Beach