Magic Panda: Days Are Numbered EP (Tigerbeat6)
This unassuming, colorful EP from Jamie Robson apparently has been years in the making. Compared to some of the more scattershot and frenetic material that Kid-606’s Tigerbeat6 label has released over the years, this is not surprising. Days Are Numbered is patient and mannered. Its four tracks feel like parts of a suite, making this one broad, focused set of ideas rather than a showcase of disparate sounds or capabilities. All four tracks are instrumental and brightly electronic, with little more organic touches like guitar and piano samples to spruce it up. Effects abound, lending it some of the epic pop quality of M83 or Apparat juxtaposed against the smaller bedroom electronics of Morr Music, minus the histrionics or tweeness respectively. It’s a grower of a release, expanding with each listen into something much bigger than I originally perceived it to be. The pretty arpeggio patterns of the title track are a nice lead-in to the busier tracks that follow, but my favorite is probably the closing track, “Akasha.” It has a squelchy set of effects that cascade over a melancholy but driving instrumental. The mood recalls recent Apparat without the drama; this is more straightforward and immediate. Very handsome stuff, a bit of a curveball from Tigerbeat6 but highly recommended.