Where You Go I Go Too


    The natural outcome of Lindstrom’s artistic efforts to date, Where You Go I Go Too takes the meaning of the term "full-length" quite literally, stretching his already epic electronic disco into works of effortless symphonic grandeur. The current surge in trippy disco productions and rediscoveries has seen Lindstrom remain noticeably ahead of most of the pack, separated by the distance that so often demarcates the endeavors of a real artist from those content to muck about with questions of style. Where You Go I Go Too only further cements the figure of Lindstrom as a not only an artist who has been very influential in opening up a broad territory to be mapped and navigated by others, but who has genuine mastery of its contours and possibilities.


    Where You Go I Go Too is Lindstrom’s first real album, the earlier It’s a Feedelity Affair being a compilation of previous 12-inch material, including his now-signature single "I Feel Space." What distinguishes this work from his earlier tracks is not only the operatic length, but also that melody takes up much of the back seat here: Catchy, hummable lead lines are quite absent, as if none could be fashioned boldly enough to carry the flag through such unfettered sonic excursions. Instead, the three tracks are fueled by the sort of hypnotic, multilayered percussion derived from Phillip Glass, Steve Reich and Terry Riley and punctuated with the kind of dramatic chord-change exclamations that gird Giorgio Moroder’s longer-form compositions, particularly his "Battlestar Galactica" theme. 


    Although it’s quite legitimate to refer to what Lindstrom and his cohorts Prins Thomas and Todd Terje do as "space disco," in the case of this particular record, "space" is probably the wrong adjective. It seems like "global" or "planetary" might be more appropriate, so much is the record as a whole evocative of topographical expanse and transcontinental exploration. It’s a very fitting imaginary soundtrack to BBC’s recent hi-def nature documentary series Planet Earth: It wouldn’t take much to sync the three tracks here up with a divinely long airborne tracking shot over hordes of silvery caribou, inhuman deserts, neon glaciers, and lazer bears. 


    The album’s eponymous 30-minute opener shows why space disco’s furthest point of logical conclusion is also the place of its origin. "E2-E4," the 50-something-minute-long landmark work recorded at the dawn of the 1980s in one take by Ash Ra Tempel guitarist Manuel Goettsching, is regularly cited as the grandaddy of the cosmic dance floor, and any engagement today with the possibility of using electronic repetition of smooth sounds to convey a sense of epic transport has to dovetail in with Goettsching’s breakthrough. Lindstrom’s opener starts with an extended ambient prelude that recalls the volcano-themed works of German electronic new-age musician Deuter, then slowly, steadily escalates into a bold journey of swirling transitions and tidal undulations.


    This is not disco meant for dancing, but for flying, especially if one happens to be the pre-adolescent protagonist of an ’80s science-fiction film with access to an enchanted spaceship destined for him alone. Around the 18-minute mark there’s a brilliant breakdown that centers on the sounds of a man panting, as if to further underscore the sense of covering long distances. In my own case I can say that the suitability of this track for grand adventure has been road-tested: During a recent vehicular ascent of Transylvania’s Fagaras mountains, there was no better choice of music to accompany the foreboding beauty as we climbed higher and higher into the atmosphere and the immense, sublime vistas unfolded around us.


    Crashing rock guitars shift the disco vessel into the speed of "A Grand Idea," which features crystalline, arpeggiating synth stabs mechanized to full Phillip Glassian effect, and gear-shifting chord changes that seem to head into dizzying, oxygen-thin climes, then dissipating into the stratosphere right before you suffocate. These twirling harmonic spires make it something like a subgenre-specific lesson in music theory, and the deference here to what seems like sheer mathematical permutation can result in the need for a breather. Cue "The Long Way Home," an exquisite nautical midnight sonata, a neo-balearic opium dream with drifting Quiet Village-style guitars that dissolve into a pool of finely shimmering marimbas, then hits a heavy stride and then suddenly a Ashford & Simpson ’80s funk swagger.


    It seems quite fitting to end an album ostensibly about voyages a track titled "The Long Way Home," but at the same time it’s perhaps also a way to sideswipe the almost inevitable question: Lindstrom, where to from here? What’s next, a cosmic disco opera, performed at Bayreuth? Or, given the success of Mamma Mia, maybe this is evidence that a Moroder musical is in order. ("Oh, Giorgio!")