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Lindstrøm – Smalhans

on November 08, 2012, 7:58am

Hans-Peter Lindstrøm 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, Lindstrøm returns with simplistic, enchanting sounds throughout his second record of 2012.

Lindstrøm 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 Lindstrøm mixes in high-pitched keys. Melodic tricks like these are the kind Lindstrøm 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 Lindstrøm 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 Lindstrøm’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 It’s a Feedelity Affair and Where You Go I Go Too. Smallhans is an electronic purist’s dream and reestablishes Lindstrøm as an innovative producer who is capable of powerful work.

Essential Tracks: “Vos-Sako-RV”, “Laam-El-Aar”