2013 is off to a good start with album announcements left, right and centre. It seems we’re in for an excellent year in electronic music, in particular with Emancipator and Bonobo having announced new albums and free singles to accompany press releases. After a scattering of 12 and 7″ releases, Gold Panda is joining them and making a return after 2010′s joyous debut Lucky Shiner with his Trust EP, the first new material released since last May.
2012 is off to a good start already with some solid music discoveries and a release schedule that’s gaining momentum every day. Amongst the discoveries has been San Diego based Room E who has just this Monday released his new LP Penguin Child, a colourful blend of instrumental hip-hop, electronica and ambient. The album’s a heady mix of samples and live instrumentation with lush, warm production and a laid back vibe. There are some real moments of brilliance here where Room E creates some seriously catchy melodies and hooks that will stick with you for a while.
It may not be too far removed from his peers and is instantly reminiscent of Four Tet and Gold Panda although where Room E forges his own path is with the aforementioned vibe that’s consistent throughout. It may lean toward the safe side a little, but none of it sounds rushed and as a whole piece it comes across delicately compiled and considered which is a great strength as the album becomes instantly effortless to listen to. It also varies in style enough to hold the attention bringing in many offshoots of the electronic music genre and what you’re left with is an incredibly solid record. There’s also a fantastic range of sounds and instruments there with xylophone, melodica, accordion all making an appearance along with live drums which bring a looser, more organic feel to the tracks they’re used on.
It’s also benefitting from some seriously cool artwork courtesy of Cami Robinson, which is what grabbed my attention before I’d even hit play. I can’t emphasise enough how much decent artwork influences what I will choose to check out and this one (although subjective of course) is a great example of what works for me.
Through repeated listens of Penguin Child those little details within the production become apparent and even sitting down with my headphones and writing this review I can feel my appreciation of this record grow. It’s an album I can strongly recommend for fans of beat music who want something a little downtempo and unhurried. It’s a strong start for the year for both musicians and music fans alike. You could do a lot worse than to check this album out.