Lindstrøm – Smalhans Lindstrøm – Smalhans

Lindstrøm – Smalhans

Disco has always been cool and will always continue to thrive. I did not know this until I started listening to more electronic music. After the same time as disco’s peak of popularity, the proto-electronic style was embraced by the Europeans. Space disco, italo disco, Hi NRG , Synthdance proved to be strongholds which weathered the storm following the blacklash of American disco in the late 70’s. While “Disco Demolition” was giving voice to a more traditional rock mainstream, Europe had always been ready to dance and carry the sound to the next logical progression. Space disco is the sound of the future if the dance style was allowed to move into the 80’s and past 1999. It is optimistic, futuristic, and completely amazing.

Nu-disco is related to space disco and its euro-disco siblings. The recent style with participants including Todd Terje, Daniel Wang, and Prins Thomas celebrates the aesthetics of European disco in the 1980’s with a more subdued flourish but with the same type of hip attitude. The attitude remains and only the equipment is updated. Pretty much all of its amazing one one could spend an entire season in its grasp. In 2008 I fell in love with Hans-Peter Lindstrøm. 4 years ago, The Norwegian electronic producer released Where You Go I Go Too, a 3 track 55 minute odyssey which explored the combination of space disco and grand narration. I still get gooseflesh even discussing it as it was a transforming experience. This is perhaps why I feel so jaded towards anything else the producer decides to release.

Now that we have discussed the highs might as well go for the lows. Well not entirely. Just this year, Lindstrom released Six Cups of Rebel an electronic album which explored more aspects of disco dance without the futuristic costume which marked his earlier records. Six Cups of Rebel was a fine experimental dance record and even threw back to his whimsical debut Its a Feedelity Affair. Six Cups of Rebel was adequate yet it did not quench my desire for cinematic disco. In all honesty, the complexity of Lindstrom’s work is starting to become apparent after the producer’s fourth record and miraculous return to his most famous style.

Smalhans is a short exercise in space dance. The album is a slim 33 minutes with 6 tracks hovering around the 5 minute mark. This seems reasonable yet compared to 28 minute tracks originally presented in 2008, it feels too short. There is a fragmentary feeling which runs throughout Smalhans as the songs are never given time to evolve or resolve. After showing the narrative arc in which dance music could have, Smalhans feels understated. As an album, it builds interesting stories but never makes them memorable. The pulsing future of dance music needs to be allowed to run around the Earth before ascending into orbit.

Smalhans, despite my slight disappointment, is still a success. These short constructions, named after Norwegian culinary dishes, open themselves up during a live event — something that I got personally experienced when seeing the producer in DC. Seeing Lindstrom live allowed to appreciate Smalhans more than I would if just through record. Lindstrom’s live sets play the majority of Smalhans, just elongated and sewn together with other glittery music. It was incredible. Tracks like “Lāmm-ęl-āār” and “Fāār-i-kāāl” make me want to cut a cosmic rug that’s laid out over the universe. Stand back everyone things are about to jump into hyperdrive.

Stepping back from Lindtstrom’s discography one sees a producer who has expressed his affinity for early 80’s dance music in differing directions. Some are grand while others are less serious in tone. What all of Lindstrom’s albums do however is excite it listeners and reminds everyone that disco was never uncool, you have always been here, and that shimmering sphinx is your destiny.

Lindstrøm - Smalhans, reviewed by Kaptain Carbon on 2012-11-12T05:11:57-08:00 rating 3.8 out of 5

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