Though he claims to be a homebody, Oslo’s Hans-Peter Lindstrøm has been slowly but surely suffusing Norway’s electro scene with his updated take on what’s essentially disco music – a handful of EPs, remixes, collaborative releases, and a solo album later, Lindstrøm's such an established name that it’s hard to believe his latest release, Six Cups of Rebel, is only his second solo album. The man’s certainly been busy in the interim since his solo debut Where You Go I Go Too in 2008, but don’t think he’s dropped his best material in the collaborative projects he’s released since then: Six Cups of Rebel is only short in song number (you got what you paid for – those seven tracks total to almost an hour of inarguable, tranced-out dance bliss) and pretty sweet all the way through.
Most impressively, there’s incredible diversity on display here: Lindstrøm can craft dense fields of borderline ambient, atmospheric loops with enough massive drones to rival Vangelis’s Blade Runner soundtrack (on head-spinning album opener “No Release”); he can set his phasers to rock on a song like “Magik,” whose glammy sheen reflects some unexpected psychedelic influences; on the epic and strange “Call Me Anytime” he can spend two and a half minutes noodling beatlessly before sliding into an irresistible, throbbing nu-disco pulse that’s at once tribal and space-like; elsewhere, Seinfeld-theme bass meets Paul Simon worldbeat guitar thrum.
When vocals come into play, they’re like incantations, as if enough repetition will provide an answer. “What kind of magic do you do?” “All I want is a quiet place to live.” Rather than fall into a pothole common with electro artists and repeat his successful tropes over and over, Lindstrøm reaches out into different modes and styles, often over the course of the same song – many tracks are all the better for their dramatic midway-through vibe shifts. And album standout “De Javu,” which staunchly refuses to settle into any one electro stereotype – tribal beats, clubby disco gloss and epic synthesized horns all take the reins at some point – is so fascinating because it’s so off-the-map.
End result – some moments are stronger than others, but Lindstrøm has created really fun, relistenable electro-disco that tenaciously refuses to be boring or predictable. That’s impressive in our book.