Lindstrom – Smalhans

Lindstrøm has managed to maintain a high standard of work throughout his impressive career and his latest release Smalhans is a far cry from his minimal work, but as good a place as any to start if you don’t know his other work.
The track titles on this album are a challenge for anyone outside Scandinavia to type but the first song ‘Rà-àkõ-st’ is a solid house track. The bass line is a smooth yet contained electronic crunch that pushes the whole track forward. There is a spacey (this is Lindstrøm after all) disco synth feature that whirls around on top of the mix paired with staccato key hits. What makes this track fun though is the smorgasbord of little electro and digital sounds that trip and move at the sidelines of this song. Lindstrøm is proud of them because he gives them a big breathing space towards the latter half of the track before bringing the bass back in. There is just such a lot going on in here that is well produced and rendered in the Italian-disco, funky style that Lindstrøm is acclaimed for.
‘Lāmm-ęl-āār’ is immediately more minimalistic and has a stronger electro-feel and sound. The predominantly hi-hat beat in the background makes this a softer track but also gives extra power to the electronic groove and stepping bass: in fact, the bass is pretty close to perfection. This track takes a few turns but keeps the excellent little building electronic details that Lindstrøm drops in.
‘Ęg-gęd-ōsis’ maintains the sweet electronic bass work of the last track. Lindstrøm ’s bass abilities have never been in question necessarily, but in my opinion he has excelled here in programming something refreshingly new. The chord progression on here is a little retrospective though (drawing memories of the club music you listened to when you were in Amsterdam that one time, yeah). It progresses rapidly though and there is a lot going on, Lindstrøm isn’t afraid of density at all and kudos to him, because it works.
‘Vōs-sākō-rv’, is heavily reminiscent of Justice/Ed Banger style electronica; Lindstrøm probably taught them everything they knew, but I believe this is a difficult sound to keep making fresh. But infectious grooves are on Lindstrøm’s side here and he is able to tastefully keep the rest of the track interesting thanks to some colourful electronics elsewhere. The teasing build towards the end is a cool feature getting higher and higher before pushing you strait back into the octave heavy hook. This is floor filler.
‘Fāār-i-kāāl’ is more restrained with a lengthy electro intro before any bass rears its head right up in the higher registers. This is a very together, all-there-at-once song in places but it fades into spacey passages that could have been a little shorter although equally this could take some definition from the strong hook that pulls this track along. Nevertheless, it’s a great track, excellent groove and the sounds that Lindstrøm uses are stellar. Despite saying there are passages that could be shorter, I like that Lindstrøm lets the main hook run towards the end of the track.
‘Vā-flę-r’ has a lot to live up to and opts for a more simple, syncopated, bass hit with the kick and hat rhythm. There is a return to some of the keyboard sounds that appeared in the opening track of this album but throughout it is hinted that this is going to be a baller with the teasing elevations in pitch and rhythm but there isn’t a real drop until the end of the track which is a little disappointing but ‘Fāār-i-kāāl’ will make you hunger for more bass.
It’s a really fun disco/club album, I always enjoy Lindstrøm and this is no exception.

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