Something of an experimental misfire from the Norwegian producer.
Alex Denney 2012-01-30
Hans-Peter Lindstrøm isn’t all that sure about the record he’s just made. "I think this album might be hard for my label," he demurred in a recent interview. "I think I’ve gone further out than before, but I’m not sure if it’s for the best."
It’s an alarmingly frank confession from a man whose last solo release’s first track ran to a whopping 29 minutes in length. But, to be fair, the Norwegian producer’s been a sound judge of quality over the course of a decade-long career that began almost by accident.
Lindstrøm was a rock fan before turning his hand to electronic music in the early-00s, scoring a string of successes with remixes for the likes of Franz Ferdinand and LCD Soundsystem. Later, his self-penned productions suggested a crisply modern take on the synth futurism of Vangelis and Giorgio Moroder, plus the ‘space disco’ sound of 1970s DJs like Daniele Baldelli.
The Oslo-born musician enjoyed further acclaim for his releases with fellow producer Prins Thomas, but his most accessible work to date came with Real Life Is No Cool. Said 2010 set collected tracks made with singer Christabelle, who added pop jouissance to his panoramic musical vision; it’s since become something of a cult classic.
As the title would suggest, Six Cups of Rebel puts him back in weirder territory, albeit of a slightly differing stripe — it’s a record defined by creeping anxiety and frustration, as evinced by the stuck church-organ drone of opener No Release, which is beat-free and leads you to wonder what kind of grand architectural folly Lindstrøm has in mind here.
De Javu provides some reassurance with its robo-George Clinton riffing and artfully pitch-shifted, choppy house accents. But, again, there’s a darkly introspective feel at work that’s bolstered by an anguished, "can’t get no release" refrain that makes its entrance around the five-minute mark. Magik is notable for some eccentric vocals (a hallmark of the record), before evil synths start flashing like searchlights on a penitentiary compound. Then the prog-tinged Quiet Place to Live lurches in like a bout of cosmic seasickness, a wracked voice declaring that "all I want is a quiet place to live" over a spooked-sounding beat.
Call Me Anytime sounds queasier still; all sozzled synthetic birdsong and freakshow sounds that settle into a skittering house groove. But Six Cups… gets truly out-there with the title-track’s unappealing blend of acid squelch and On the Corner-era jazz-funk, and the 10-minute Hina, which is bookended by a pair of drum solos and sounds like a purgatorial inversion of The Field’s sublime tension.
Points for trying something new, but it’s hard to disagree with Lindstrøm’s own assessment of the record as something of an experimental misfire.