Hans-Peter Lindstrøm’s sophomore solo album follows pop-leaning collaborative efforts with Prins Thomas and Christabelle. Both side projects saw the Norwegian disco/techno/electro producer not so much expanding his oeuvre, but constricting it to a shaft of oftentimes brilliant light. Six Cups of Rebel takes its title seriously and atomizes the notion of a techno-leaning space-disco release. On 2008’s Where You Go I Go Too, the tracks ranged from 10 to 29 minutes and this new LP takes the Christabelle influence to heart.
Longtime Lindstrøm fans will be glad that the musician’s affinity for 1970 and 1980-era analog synthesizers is as strong as ever. His progressive arrangements are still spacey, but their emphasis is on pitch-modulated vocals and percussion. The former tactic ends up becoming a crap shoot and the latter is nearly perfectly executed throughout. Debut single “De Javu” is the early highlight on the LP. Its funky-as-fuck bass line and danceable beat is tailor-made for the dancefloor. Lindstrøm tries on some processed vocals here and elsewhere that just stick out as embarrassing or downright incongruous. He’s normally above such cornball electronic musician behavior. The dance-pop vocals on Real Life Is No Cool were as sleek as a sports car. These drag the proceedings down like an engine with water in the gas tank.
Speaking of locomotion, Six Cups of Rebel really moves for a fifty-five minute song suite as lush as this one. “Magik” is a prime example of this musical motility. The live drums and pitch-modulated vocals (they sort of work here) gather together and explode at various points. The synthesizers are a tad arcane , but they fire off in brilliant pinwheel configurations. It’s a beauty to listen to this track, and with headphones on. Two 10-minute epics off Six Cups point back towards the past: “Call Me Anytime” and “Hina.” Both songs are reminiscent of Where You Go I Go Too‘s overall spaciness. “Hina” is the better of the pair and closes the album with a polyrhythmic, phased flourish. That song abruptly cuts off and the arpeggiated organ of “No Release” starts again like a snake coiling around its victim.
The question is whether Six Cups warrants repeat listening. It is a fun and enjoyable album. It hits its marks and succeeds several expectations. The outright space exploration of Lindstrøm’s previous musical outings is sometimes lost here. His dancefloor is fun, but its been grounded this year.