Hans-Peter Lindstrom is a unique man. The multi-instrumentalist, composer, and producer grew up in the boondocks of Norway. He didn’t listen to dance music until later in his life. As a kid he listened to country and western, played in his church choir, and was in a Deep Purple cover band. Around the turn of the century he got fed up with music and sold all his instruments. He spent the next few years building back up from nothing, first playing guitar in the street and then buying a sampler to see if he could try his hand at dance music.
His successful string of 12-inches and albums is proof that he was on the right track. His 2008 album, Where You Go I Go Too, caught the attention of people outside the dance community, and made several year-end best-of lists. That album was comprised of three long, languid compositions that slowly built over their extended playing times. Those expecting more meditative space disco with his latest, Six Cups of Rebel, are in for a shock.
The two covers speak to the differences between the albums. Where You Go I Go Too is a black-and-white candid headshot of Lindstrom smiling awkwardly. Six Cups of Rebel is a day-glo composition of buildings and records; there is nothing muted or understated about the cover or the music inside. Where You Go I Go Too was understated and subtle; Six Cups of Rebel is much less reserved in its musical approach.
The album starts with “No Release,” an aptly named track that contains an organ loop that increasingly builds without a beat ever dropping in. That release comes with “De Javu,” a noisy bit of ’80s disco with a thumping beat and grinding synthesizers. Lindstrom’s background in rock music is all over this album, with live drums, guitars, and keyboards featuring prominently.
When it is balanced right the result is pulsating disco with just the right amount of sleaze. Unfortunately, too often the songs are overloaded and cacophonous. “Quiet Place To Live” has a thumping beat and wonderfully cheesy guitars and synths, but it is done in with the endless repetition of “all I want is a quiet place to live” by processed voices. “Magik” is a mess of keyboards and drums fighting for the spotlight that meanders along for several minutes before congealing into something like a hyper-kinetic video game soundtrack.
“Call Me Anytime” begins with two and a half minutes of proggy noodling that transitions into a beat that manages to be off-kilter and rocking at the same time. The title track manages to mesh ’80s synth rock and ’90s techno into a satisfying hybrid. The album closes with the 10-minute opus, “Hina,” which goes in a prettier direction than the rest of the disc, and is easily the best song.
No doubt Six Cups of Rebel is amazing on the dance floor, but it falls short as a listening experience. Lindstrom tries to cram too many sounds and ideas into each song, and the results aren’t always pretty. While he proves himself to be a creative voice, his lack of restraint hinders Six Cups of Rebel.Powered by Sidelines