Before Gold Panda unleashed Lucky Shiner in all its nostalgic, sample-stuffed glory, the UK producer woodshedded, quietly releasing a series of EPs on Make Mine (UK), Varicount (Japan), and his own Notown Records. Even then, the hallmarks of the Gold Panda sound—static-y slices of recontextualized sound, soul-stirring chord changes, an air of heavy-lidded melancholia—were in place. For the Companion EP, we've compiled three of Gold Panda's early 2009 EPs (Before, Miyamae, and Quitter's Raga) along with a slew of previously Japan-only bonus tracks into a seamless listening experience, a journey into the heart of one of the finest beat-based musicians around.

The Companion EP opens with the cinematic "Quitter's Raga", a not-so-distant cousin of Lucky Shiner's calling card "You". Over the track's all-too-brief two minutes, Gold Panda spreads Indian classical-music samples (sitars, tablas, sweetly chanted vocals) liberally over heartstring-tugging chord changes, evoking the fluttery feeling of spotting that special someone across a crowded room. "Back Home" (from the Miyamae EP) pulls its source material from what sounds like a late-night barroom slowdance—tinkling chimes, softly blown horns, trembling fiddles—and whips them up into a bedroom dance party. "Long Vacation" (also from Miyamae) opens with an unnamed speaker intoning "sometimes you make plans… sometimes they don't work out," and eases into a state of sonic confusion, all water-droplet percussion and frantic machine noises. "Win-San Western" (from the Before EP) smashes a gonzo drum 'n bass rhythm up against a toy xylophone and somehow ends up with the chase music from an imaginary Sergio Leone film.

A fitting complement to Gold Panda's inimitable full-length, the Companion EP shows a restless Gold Panda searching for his voice and, like all good creative minds, reveling in the process. Lucky for us, the searcher unearthed more than a few gems along the way.


Gold Panda

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Track List
Fifth Ave $0.99 Buy MP3
Like Totally $0.99 Buy MP3
Back Home $0.99 Buy MP3
Mayuri $0.99 Buy MP3
Long Vacation $0.99 Buy MP3
Lonely Owl $0.99 Buy MP3
Heaps $0.99 Buy MP3
Bad Day Bad Loop $0.99 Buy MP3
Triangle Cloud $0.99 Buy MP3
Win-San Western $0.99 Buy MP3
Police $0.99 Buy MP3
Quitter's Raga $0.99 Buy MP3
I Suppose I Should Say 'Thanks' Or Some Shit $0.99 Buy MP3

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