Gold Panda – aka Derwin Schlecker – likes to include his travels in his music, but with ‘Good Luck And Do Your Best’ – a phrase spoken to him by a Japanese cab driver – he has really outdone himself. The album starts innocuously enough with ‘Metal Bird’, but when we reach ‘In My Car’ a cascade of sound brings the Japanese setting right through to the surface, and from then on the album takes on a new dimension. Schlecker manages an ideal fusion of intricate and inventive homemade beats together with musical riffs and phrases that take us far away. ‘Chiba Nights’ has an old house piano but a rich sound, while the hazy deep house of ‘Pink And Green’ and ‘Haylards’ is more nocturnal and reflective. All the while Gold Panda paints charming and evocative pictures of his Japanese retreat, using authentic instruments but not overdoing the clichés. Instead he makes a natural progression from ‘Half Of Where You Live’, and shows how versatile his music is in the process.

5 out of 5

Reviewed by: Ben Hogwood