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Lindstrøm - Smalhans

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Artist: Lindstrøm

Album: Smalhans

Label: Smalltown Supersound

Review date: Nov. 6, 2012

Though Hans-Peter Lindstrøm has stayed busier than ever since 2008’s definitive Where You Go I Go Too, it’s how he’s stayed busy that has made him such an intriguing character. He made his name on the buoyant space-disco defined by arguably his best song, “I Feel Space,” then refined the idea in collaborations with fellow Norwegian cosmic connoisseur Prins Thomas and by blowing it out to its most expansive on Where You Go I Go Too. From there, HP moved in different directions from that endpoint, first with the radio-ready approachability of his Christabelle collaboration and, most recently, with the abstruse Six Cups of Rebel from earlier this year. It was the strangest Lindstrøm ever sounded, yet still recognizably melodic even in the 10-plus minutes of closer “Hina.” Tellingly, by his own admission, it was also his most personal album.

All that personal and musical development can only get weirder and better as time goes on, but for now, Lindstrøm has put his more creative side on hold for a return to his bread and butter with the comparatively conservative Smalhans (literally, even: each song is named after a traditional Norwegian meal). Bluntly, it hits the right buttons and will bring a smile to both long-time fans and those new to the name. That also means this is what he sounds like on total autopilot. Aided in the mixing process by another Norwegian master of the balearic, Todd Terje, Lindstrøm returns to a sound he conquered long ago, as if to regroup for his next major sonic move or, perhaps, scratch an itch just to see if he could still do it. He can.

To its credit, there’s little wasted time on Smalhans. “Rà-àkõ-st” comes right out of the gate with a memorably schmalzy melody and a steady beat. “Lāmm-ęl-āār” sounds the most like a Terje production, with its ascending and descending notes on repeat throughout the four-and-a-half minutes. The standout for fans of his spacier side is without a doubt “Fāār-i-kāāl,” a track that feels as distant as the rest do immediate. Muted sounds, synth stabs that aren’t too sharp, a BPM right in the mid 120s – yes, you will feel space if you’ve forgotten how.

But spending more time writing about this album seems silly for exactly the reason you may wind up playing it more at first than any of his other recent efforts: its immediate gratification. Smalhans sounds like the most familiar Lindstrøm album since It’s a Feedelity Affair, which is what makes it so strange to hear now that we’re so far removed from his early days. The title is Norwegian for “poverty,” but its rewards are as rich as they’ve ever been. Just not in the same way.

By Patrick Masterson

Other Reviews of Lindstrøm

It’s A Feedelity Affair / Lindstrøm & Prins Thomas

Where You Go I Go Too

Six Cups of Rebel

Read More

View all articles by Patrick Masterson

Find out more about Smalltown Supersound

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