Music Reviews
Good Luck and Do Your Best

Gold Panda Good Luck and Do Your Best

(City Slang) Buy it from Insound Rating - 7/10

Derwin Schlecker documents in the form of a travelogue on Good Luck and Do Your Best. After taking a series of trips to Japan in 2014, the English electronic producer had fully become immersed with the country’s vibrant sights and sounds. It’s not the first time that he’s been inspired by outside sources - one of his earlier works, Lucky Shiner, etched together unfamiliar samples that resembled something of a daydream, as if he’s creating these imaginary sound sculptures out of images that are pure conjecture. This time around, Schlecker has taken from direct sources, effusively absorbing as much as his eyes and ears could capture out of those two experiences. Having that frame of reference not only expands his creative talents, but it reinforces them, too. 

Gold Panda has always been driven by the unknown, as he’s produced gleaming, sensorial experiences that usually lead one into the unforeseen. His minimal arrangements are never too obtrusive, though they’re always in constant motion. This time around, his songs have more of a danceable pulse than usual - Chiba Nights and Time Eater incorporate transient melodic patterns with tuneful, repetitive rhythms that evoke techno music’s aesthetic core. He’s also venturing into more jazz-flavored territory with songs like Autumn Fall and Your Good Times are Just the Beginning, integrating carefully sequenced horns and smooth keyboard lines to add more shapes to their steady, calm passages.

There are times in which Gold Panda ventures off course with a number of moments that disrupt the album’s warm and inviting atmosphere (the frantic Song for a Dear Friend comes to mind); curiously enough, the equally inventive and aurally soothing Haylards proves that he’s well in control of his faculties. Despite not taking any drastic leaps, he’s once again delivered another wide-eyed, hypnotic set that finds a satisfactory compromise between quasi-ambient soundscapes and headphone-nodding grooves. It ambles through with a level of commitment that he’s already comfortable with, though in setting those limitations he’s also quietly mastering his craft.