Everywhere you look these days there are things telling you how important it is to get away from everyday life, to lift your head up and take a step back from the grind. Escaping the routine; whether that’s by going camping, starting a fitness regime or joining a basket weaving course, is big right now.
However, those things take time, effort and usually (with true bubble-bursting callousness) money. Instead, you could climb into your headphones and listen to the latest release from Derwin Schlecker, AKA Gold Panda. ‘Good Luck and Do Your Best’ is an album of complete aural escapism. Infused with eastern whiffs and flavours, these tracks soon have you creating images of misty forests of rich greens or midnight explosions of neon signs experienced in the glorious anonymity afforded to you when you’re that far from home. It’s actually quite a mystical experience at times and a lot cheaper than a weekend retreat of skinning rabbits in the Cotswolds.
‘In My Car’ and ‘I Am A Real Punk’ are the two stand-out examples of this simple teleportation technique. Ironically enough, I’ve been listening to this album on my way to work every day and it’s amazing how quickly the music can make you’re mind wander – that (given there are no verbal messages in these tunes) is the ultimate purpose of what somebody like Gold Panda does?
Now, obviously this kind of music isn’t for everyone (my girlfriend was quick to put it in the “what is this dirge?” pile along with Radiohead’s latest effort) and indeed, I found a limited amount here to keep my attention past two or three listens when I wasn’t using it as a means of slightly unclipping myself from reality. Personally I’d have left ‘Chiba Nights’ on my hard drive and tried to include more along the lines of ‘Time Eater’ – a solid tail-ender, it doesn’t take long for it to set you drifting.
This album has the ability to make you feel like you’re taking a contemplative stroll through what you’d rather be doing as opposed to what you are obliged to do. It wouldn’t surprise me if some of these songs ended up being part of the soundtrack to a road movie or found their way into a few snowboarding videos; they are creations that live very much in that world – nowhere near the everyday routine that so many of us have. So, if you need to get away from it all for an hour – if basket weaving, skinning rabbits and yoga don’t really appeal – try putting ‘Good Luck and Do Your Best’ on and stare out of the window for a bit.