Magic Panda: Tokyo (Tigerbeat6)
Magic Panda continues his sterling blend of crisp rhythm and melodic electronics on this EP for Kid606’s Tigerbeat6 label. The only new track here is “Tokyo” in its succinct under-four-minutes treatment that kicks things off. It’s practically an anthem, with an infectious melodic refrain and insistent bassline. The rest of the release is a series of remixes, not only of “Tokyo” but also two other tracks. By far, my favorite remix is Max Cooper’s elegant treatment of “Distant Places,” 7 minutes of inspired dancefloor bliss. The remixes of “Tokyo” run the gamut. Lanny May’s version is probably the most appropriate for a typical dancefloor, with a significantly faster tempo and a punchy kick and snare to give it extra heft. Groj hones in on the krautrock motorik sensibility of the original and enhances it with a double-time bass kick pulse while leaving the main refrain completely in tact, while Kid606 gives it his own unique spin of discordant chillwave by adding buzzing sawtooth leads and a chugging halfbeat groove. Two remixes of “A Perfect Circle” follow; the Defled remix reminds me of Fuck Buttons’ more melodic moments on Tarot Sport (without the layer of added noise) while Mary Yalex’s remix is more melodic still, built largely around delayed arpeggios and a twinkling lullaby lead, all set to a contrasting 4/4 kick and more sporadic snare/tom strikes that set it apart from the standard fare. I can only assume that Tigerbeat6 has a full-length from Magic Panda scheduled sometime soon based on the tease of remixes of tracks that aren’t released (unless I’m mistaken); it would’ve been nice to hear “A Perfect Circle” and “Distant Places” included in their original forms. But any new material from Magic Panda is always welcome, and this is no exception. Worth it for the first two cuts alone, with plenty of added bonuses.