Hans-Peter LindstrÃ¸m returns to Scandinavian dance music roots on Smalhans by approaching the production in a more manageable way. Nixing the circus-on-acid affair of February’s Six Cups of Rebel, LindstrÃ¸m returns with simplistic, enchanting sounds throughout his second record of 2012.
LindstrÃ¸m noticeably forgoes the classic electronic music trope of building sound into a grand crescendo. Instead, Smalhans takes a more raw route. Album opener Ra-ako-st begins with a pounding bass line that disorients the listener as LindstrÃ¸m mixes in high-pitched keys. Melodic tricks like these are the kind LindstrÃ¸m has thoughtfully imbued in his music throughout his career. “Lamm-El-Aar” exemplifies this attention to detail, inciting sensation through scaling fills that layer the sometimes repetitive instrumentation.
Faar-I-Kaal features the closest thing to vocals on the album. The song plays a choppy choir sample, and the singers’ breathy, haunting voices add short but welcome twists. In this way, no part of Smalhans sounds unfinished. The album marks a return to the more calculated sounds of his earlier work. Even when LindstrÃ¸m lets loose, like on Vos-Sako-Rv, his playful abandon sounds akin to a Chromeo or Holy Ghost!-inspired pop song.
His last album, 2012’s Six Cups of Rebel, left even his obsessive fans feeling underwhelmed and a bit confounded. While LindstrÃ¸m’s artistic risks on that album deserve applause, the album was far from the polished sound of Smallhans. This album sounds like a destination for the music that Lindstrom was pioneering on earlier works like Its a Feedelity Affair and Where You Go I Go Too. Smallhans is an electronic purist’s dream and reestablishes LindstrÃ¸m as an innovative producer who is capable of powerful work.
Essential Tracks: “Vos-Sako-RV”, “Laam-El-Aar”