Doctor Who is shit, right? Come on: the recycled faux peril ('The Daleks are back! Even though they were unequivocally defeated forever two seasons ago!'), the pornographic insertion of famous TV people guest stars, the special effects budget that was presumably stolen from my loose change jar; it’s camp frothy rubbish. I hate Doctor Who.
It’s therefore somewhat disquieting to me that it’s images of Doctor Fucking Who that float through my consciousness whilst listening to Trust, the excellent new EP from London’s electronic composer Gold Panda. Not only do the four (well, three and a half) tracks conjure strange and unusual sci-fi soundscapes, but they do so with a panoramic scope unencumbered by the inherent brevity of the EP format (like a musical Tardis… see, it’s not such a tortured, word count-padding analogy). Whilst début album Lucky Shiner was described as steeped in nostalgia, this time the sound is that of the future, of undiscovered worlds.
The opener ‘Trust Intro’ – as you’ll discover, titles are not where Gold Panda has expended much energy this time around – is something of an exercise in misdirection. As the track name suggests, it’s a brief introduction and one crackling with a sense of urgency, live-sounding applause over an organ that fades quickly into electronic ambience; perhaps mindful that time is limited on the EP, this one minute and 17 seconds is the only point at which Trust doesn’t sound pleasantly languid.
Thereafter, Trust EP maintains a consistent aesthetic without ever becoming samey. ‘Trust’ (see what I mean about the titles) has rustling, broken percussion and languorous jazzy electronics that conjure up images both retro and forward looking; think what the soundtrack to an adaptation of a Ray Bradbury novel directed by Sofia Coppola might sound like. ‘Burnt Out Car in a Forest’ has a much denser sound, clicking and hustling along unhurriedly, a leisurely walk through Yosemite or Yellowstone National Parks. It’s sparse enough though to suggest that you’re walking in a post-apocalyptic world, giving the title a neat appropriateness. Finally ‘Casyam_59#02’ is all clicks and throbbing bass interspersed with awkwardly cute synths, the strangeness making Gold Panda sound like Thom Yorke’s mate du jour.
The most impressive aspect of Trust is how satisfying it is. You remain utterly confident that Gold Panda has enough ideas kicking around up there that he could effortlessly turn out an excellent full-length album, but there’s no frustration at the brevity of this gorgeous piece of work. It’s very much a headphone piece of work for introspective moments of calm and drifting, in the mould of Moon Safari or Oversteps, and for 16 minutes it comes very close to their level.
8Dan Lucas's Score