One’s enjoyment of Hans-Peter Lindstrøm’s music depends in large part on whether or not the listener has a taste for epic and slowly unfolding space disco suites. The man has a good many recordings to his name, some with collaborators Prins Thomas and Christabelle, and there are no doubt numerous instances of immediately gratifying, pleasure-zone dance accessibility among them. Yet the Norwegian producer has a particular knack for pieces that defy the simple structure of a dance single. On his first proper full-length, Where You Go I Go Too, Lindstrøm unleashed a progressive disco monolith containing only three tracks, but unfolding over a 55-minute span, which sounds more like a Yes album than that of a beat-driven producer.
Then again, as the man displayed through his early singles collected on It’s a Feedelity Affair, when it’s time to get funky, no minimal prog-house urge can stand in his way. Lindstrøm is all too eager to remind listeners of that loose-limbed, head-bobbing kind of electro on his second proper album, Six Cups of Rebel. Slightly shorter than its predecessor, yet boasting twice as many tracks, Rebel is a return to more hedonistic climates and weirder instincts, all the while never completely letting go of the hypnotic beat-laden art that’s earned him the highest acclaim. This dichotomy presents itself nice and early too, with the elegant and trippy synth arpeggios of “No Release” segueing nicely into the bright and flashy fun of “De Javu,” a track so purely fun on a surface level that its seven minutes easily feel like half that.
Six Cups of Rebel gets progressively weirder with each track, inviting in all manner of effects-treated vocals and synthesizer zaps, one of the most purely wacky moments occurring on “Magik,” in which Lindstrøm’s pitch-shifted voice repeats the refrain “What kind of magic do you do?” over an almost Prince-like progression of synth funk. And the title track is like an extended prelude, with teasing funk breakdowns never exploding into the deep jam they seem to promise, but grooving all the same.
Yet, when given the opportunity to stretch out over a nine- or ten-minute span, he turns that odd infectiousness into something strangely magical. “Call Me Anytime” takes a few minutes of crashing midi horns and drums to begin to move toward any direction in particular, but once it does, Lindstrøm stirs up a psychedelic mélange of sounds that give the loose impression of a jam while remaining deceptively tight, referencing bits of “Here Comes the Sun” in a hypnotic, cosmic pulse. And the nearly 11-minute “Hina,” which closes the album, sets a course for a distant galaxy with its laser synths and alien voices, beckoning the listener to take its ethereal journey.
Though Six Cups of Rebel doesn’t demand the same kind of patience as Where I Go You Go Too, its aims are no less ambitious, just in different ways. Lindstrøm can clearly take his passengers on an epic psychedelic voyage, but sometimes, it seems the dude just feels like making some great dance music. Either way, this album pretty much has both bases covered.
Stream: Lindstrøm – “De Javu”
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.