Hans-Peter Lindstrøm has the palette to pull it off. If Six Cups of Rebel is intended to signify that these seven tracks are left-of-center, then he’s definitely accomplished it on this, his latest release. Whilst not wholly triumphant, Six Cups of Rebel is an interesting demonstration of his ability to eschew Lindstrøm’s “space disco” of the past and create several divergent, disparate electronic tracks on which the influence of his own varied background is marked.
From gospel to pop and folk to country, Lindstrøm’s musical history is not rooted anywhere near a dance hall. The Oslo native entered the scene a decade ago and finally released his first proper studio longplayer in 2008, winning a Spellemannprisen (Norwegian music award) for Where You Go I Go Too in 2008. It signposted Lindstrøm as an innovator – a relatively new player who was self-taught and educated in all things electronic, and who brought a fresh imagination with him.
Six Cups of Rebel, then, is his second real LP although he’s been quite busy these last four years. His release with Christabelle, Real Life Is No Cool, charted in 2010 in Belgium and Norway and garnered strong acclaim globally. He’s also remixed tracks for bands like Bear in Heaven, The Doves, Best Coast, Glasser and The Boredoms. That experience pays off on Six Cups: it’s clear he’s abandoned the space disco feel for other moods that interest him.
As for highlights, the album hits its stride early. The cathedral organ opening ‘No Release’ (although becoming rather arduous after five full minutes) makes for a haunting, dramatic opening. Even better, it leads into the album’s best track, ‘De Javu,’ which lyrically carries the opening track’s title throughout.
Lindstrøm’s background playing piano with a gospel choir comes into play on ‘De Javu’, reflected in the great vocal arrangements involved. The entire affair remains playful and interesting, with deep horns, hand claps, snare solos, tribal breakdowns and more in the seven-minute track’s midsection before expanding back into a full-on club groove. If anything it serves as a great example of Lindstrøm’s ability to yo-yo a song to his liking – sending it out before pulling it back in again to shift things around while maintaining the rhythm the entire time.
The remaining tracks all warrant a first listen, but stand out less than what has come before. ‘Quiet Place To Live’ sounds like a club prog track that features cloying vocal work. It opens with chunky riffs that interest, continuing with some gentle keyboard swirls and a repeated refrain. The title track is also promising, with its sweet funk groove. Lindstrøm’s attempts to lay things over the top can sometimes feel disjointed, though, the groove itself perhaps needing slightly more propulsion.
Highlights can be found in and out of most tracks, making this an interesting, sometimes compelling, 50-plus minutes of electronic experimentation – perhaps the measure of about six cups worth of rebellion.