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Lindstrøm and Christabelle Real Life Is No Cool Review

Album. Released 2010.  

BBC Review

Pleasingly organic compared to the majority of most modern, digital dance music.

Louis Pattison 2009

With his soft Jesus gaze and fluffy beard, Hans-Peter Lindstrøm does not appear your everyday DJ saviour. A dance agnostic in his early 20s, he played Hammond organ in a Deep Purple tribute band, and slid into producing disco seemingly by accident.

The last five or so years, mind, have seen him write an impressive resume, turning out a string of fine space-disco releases on his own Feedelity imprint before making his name internationally with Where You Go I Go Too – a masterpiece of warm, progressive space disco that posited this Norwegian producer as an heir to cosmic-minded 70s producers such as Giorgio Moroder and Daniele Baldelli.

On Real Life Is No Cool, Lindstrøm reconnects with an earlier collaborator, one Christabelle Silje Isabelle Birgitta Sandoo, who made her Feedelity debut back in 2004 with the wonderful Music In My Mind 12”. It’s tempting to call Christabelle the Donna Summer to Lindstrøm’s Moroder, but their relationship appears much more chaotic than that. Recording her vocals independently, making up lyrics on the spot and submitting them to Lindstrøm for tweaking and re-editing, their collaboration feels a subversion of the traditional producer-vocalist relationship – in short, anything goes.

So, the opening Looking For What commences with Christabelle’s voice singing a cappella, chopped up and layered until it’s incomprehensible. As the beat finally drops, she emerges from the fog, free-associating mischievously: “What shall we do… shall we start looking… looking for what?” Instead of disco’s grand climaxes and stage-managed highs, then, we have a woozier, constantly mutating tableau – one that clearly privileges jamming as a most adequate way of making music, and one that feels pleasingly organic next to the majority of most modern, digital dance music.

Conventional highlights include a revived Music in My Mind and Baby Can’t Stop, a Jackson 5-tinged number with vibrant horns and itchy funk guitar. But there are impressive experimental excursions here, too: take Never Say Never, a whirl of backwards beats, twinkling harps and discombobulated vocals that’s both utterly disorientating and quite delightful.

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