Having spent several weeks focussing on music of an introspective & ascetic nature, it’s time to let off some steam, & to that end let me flag up the latest release from Lindstrøm, titled Six Cups of Rebel. In nearly 10 years of music-making, this is only Hans-Peter Lindstrøm’s third album (which is not to suggest his output is small; he’s put out over twenty 12″ singles over the years), but the large-scale format clearly suits him. Six Cups of Rebel is a somewhat strange entity to try to define, opening in dazzling fashion with a cascading piece of organ minimalism (‘No Release’), its static, Steve Reich-like epicentre chasing itself in circles over a glowering pedal part of rising Shepard tones. None of which really suggests the full-on party atmosphere that’s about to ensue, with multitudinous but astutely-judged throwbacks to an earlier time; but Lindstrøm’s not just another statistic in the endless parade of latter-day retrophiliacs; he’s far more subtle, opting – for the most part – for whiffs of suggestion rather than a faceful of the past. Lindstrøm has assimilated his influences, & when they appear—funk & house gestures in ‘De Javu’; ’80s synth arpeggios & power chords in ‘Quiet Place to Live’—they’re merely elements in an experiment that’s very much bigger & more original.
Six Cups of Rebel is a diptych, & the transition between its panels is heralded by an amusing, faux-naïf fanfare (‘Call Me Anytime’), bringing to mind Franz Zappa’s more primitive synclavier pieces. The last three tracks pull the party in a new direction, disrupted by guitar riffs & breakbeats, culminating (with perhaps a wink to Luke Vibert) in an episode splashing around in the muddy squelch of the TB-303. That effectively brings proceedings to an end, as the closing track, ‘Hina’, mirrors the opener in similarly minimalistic fashion, dropping the straightforward beats & luxuriating in a rich palette of shifting timbres over unrelenting ostinatos.
It’s a strange album, no doubt, & i’ll admit to misgivings about certain aspects, but as a whole it’s so joyous & infectiously playful that the moments of mishap are easily forgotten.
5:4 rating: 4.71/5