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Baker's Dozen

Bear Necessities: Gold Panda's Favourite Albums
John Freeman , June 1st, 2016 08:29

Following the release of his third album, Good Luck And Do Your Best, Derwin talks to John Freeman about the 13 albums, from Michael Jackson to the Akira soundtrack, that helped shape his Gold Panda project


Snd – Tender Love
I found out about Snd through an album on Raster-Noton called Atavism. That album has a cover that just says "Snd" on the cover and a block of pink and nothing else. I don't even think the tracks had titles – maybe just a note about how long each one is. That album, which is not the one on my list, is relentlessly brutal and digital. The tracks are fired at you, like super-structured shards of music.

All the Snd stuff is good, even if you have to be in the mood for it. I have chosen Tender Love as it is super minimal, and if you listen to it on headphones, it does this thing where it almost feels like someone is in your head and they are tickling your ears. The music almost gets into the back of your throat, if you can imagine that. It's hard to explain, but they use lots of high-frequency clicking sounds and it almost massages your head.

Snd are two guys from Sheffield. One of them is Mark Fell, who is doing his own stuff that is similar to Snd, so I am wondering what Mat Steel's role is in the band. Reading interviews with Mark Fell, it seems like he has made a patch in some software, which has helped create the music. I like the way they are documenting the way they make music – and that's it. It's almost like how jazz musicians would get in a room and jam and by the end they may have done an album. It was a thing that happened and they documented it on record.

I don't think I am as technical, but I am interested in their approach to making music. I like the fact that they just make a thing – an album - and that is all that is happening. It is a very minimal approach, but is direct and it has been thought about.

I almost met Mark Fell once in Berlin. We were in the same Vietnamese restaurant and he was sitting on the table opposite me. I was too scared to talk to him, so I didn't. I think what scares me is that he is really clever and I don't know what I would say to him. I thought I would just keep it as really liking his music, but not telling him that or even talking to him. I am just a fan.