Available on: Smalltown Supersound LP
Hans-Peter Lindstrøm will forever be shackled to the “cosmic disco” tag. Alongside long-time collaborator Prins Thomas and fellow Scandinavians Todd Terje and Bjørn Torske, he has spent the best part of a decade churning out other-worldly music that uses the 4/4 rhythms of disco as a launch pad to aim for the stars. With Terje’s well received It’s the Arps EP still ringing in our ears after its release last month, it seems we’re already due for another dose of Nordic hedonism.
There is definitely something celestial about album opener ‘No Release’, with its MIDI organ loop relaying into infinity while synth pads slowly ascend into a beatless crescendo. To stick with the astronomic analogy, this is the sound of Lindstrøm charging up the engines and preparing for take-off. Only with ‘De Javu’ does he break through the stratosphere, powered by a restless 303 bassline and bursts of synth horn, and by the time we get to ‘Magik’ it’s clear the producer is planning to take us further out than ever before. A stellar swirl of organ licks, rolling drums and hypnotic chanting, it’s refreshingly dismissive of the standard template of builds and drops, instead opting for a myriad of musical flavours that wash in and out seemingly at random.
While on his last solo release, 2008’s Where You Go I Go Too, Lindstrøm seemed content to stretch out a single concept to breaking point, it now seems he has more ideas than he can squeeze into each track. This is the first time the producer has used his own vocals and they appear in numerous guises throughout the album, from the deranged Green Velvet-esque chants of ‘Quiet Place To Live’ to a passable George Clinton impression on ‘De Javu’. It’s light years away from the subdued Balearic disco he’s been releasing with Prins Thomas or the low slung ’80s grooves he laid down for vocalist Christabelle in 2010. Left alone at the controls, it sounds like he’s decided to press every button at once and see what happens.
In a recent FACT interview the producer said the album was styled as a DJ mix, and it’s possible to hear 6 Cups as an inheritor to the free-form mixes of “cosmic” pioneer Daniele Baldelli. So we get prog-disco rubbing shoulders with the wildest excesses of p-funk, while afro rhythms flirt with the down-pitched 808s of electro. Even the songs merge into each other in unusual ways, with the acid bassline from ‘Call Me Anytime’s bleeding into the title track, only to be interrupted by funk drum fills.
This is an album with more costume changes than a drag queen, and the shameless flamboyance to match. That’s not to say there aren’t moments where Lindstrøm’s new-found exuberance is hard to swallow. The stadium rock guitar that introduces ‘Quiet PlacTo Live’ wouldn’t sound out of place on the Flash Gordon soundtrack, while the opening minutes of ‘Call Me Anytime’ are a discordant mess, but both tracks eventually settle down into satisfying rhythmic workouts. Lindstrøm has clearly embraced his ‘cosmic disco’ tag as a statement of intent, and while the final result may be uneven in places, if you leave your inhibitions at the airlock you’re guaranteed an enjoyable ride.
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