A lot can change in five years and although ‘Illinois’ opened Sufjan
up to an appreciative audience, there is no guarantee that their
initial affection will be rekindled with a flaccid reworking of his sole
‘The Age of Adz’, however, is a departure; a musical evolution, but one that has all the hallmarks of being a natural occurrence.
Mixing the traditional with the tools of the present, Stevens has crafted an album that half stays true to his original blue print but one that also offers a
series of collisions between drum machines beats and analogue synthesisers,
peppered with the occasional choral or orchestrated flourish that helps form them into being abstract electronic pop songs,
which are rich in vibrant pomposity and sound like a cross between a more majestic, inventive version of
The Postal Service and a less animated Flaming Lips.
I think it was Bill Bailey being as recognisable as Lady Gaga. “Oh yeah. Okay, Sufjan Stevens Jordan! Someone like that is famous to me!”
Gold Panda informally entered the fame game when ‘Quitter’s Raga’ – his debut single of chopped up sitars, oriental stabs and snapping hand claps went a bit viral and began earning him support slots with HEALTH and Sufjan Stevens Simian Mobile Disco
(Jas Shaw ended up producing ‘Lucky Shiner’). We didn’t know about Seams, Dam Mantle or Becoming Real then; Derwin helped expose and inspire them, and a slew of bedroom loners into dissecting sounds and
creating experimental electronic music.
Playing live was (and is) a necessary evil, says Derwin, hardly fit for “a person who doesn’t like going out and seeing people.”
And then ducking in and out of venues as inconspicuously as possible was made all the more difficult as Gold Panda became a face of nearly every Ones To Watch list in January most notably the BBC’s Sound of 2010 poll.
“I felt pretty annoyed by that,” explains Derwin, although not for the reason I expect “because it was me and Joy Orbison, and I’m sorry to say that I’m better than the rest, but we were the only two that stood out from a pretty bad bunch.
But the reason why it really pissed me off was because it was like, now all of these people have to be number one to be considered successful.
They did a round up of the previous year and it was Passion Pit and Little Boots, who were considered failures.
I was like, ‘oh, I thought Passion Pit did quite well.’
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