Lindstrøm: Smalhans [Review]

November 8, 2012 -

Dominick Knowles

Norwegian electronic composer Hans-Peter Lindstrøm is no rookie. He's an artist who knows how to travel the polyrhythmic eddies of dance music without giving in to the kind of Americanized bass-filth machismo that plagues the genre. On Smalhans, his sound is notably less organic but as sonically interesting as ever.

There are a couple essential qualities that set Linstrøm apart from his contemporaries, the most important of which being his melodic instinct. The melody on lead track "Rà-àkõ-st" is sixteen bars long. The underlying chord sequence rarely repeats, and it treats consonance and dissonance with a kind of equity that's usually only heard during  the most intricate moments of jazz fusion. So this isn't the work of a halfbaked laptop-toter scrounging for his next bass-drop fix. It's a piece, and it was made by a very serious craftsman.

The rest of the record follows suit, and if you can handle over 33 minutes of four-on-the-floor bass at allergro/vivace, there's really very little to complain about. Linstrøm's harmonic showmanship and his ear for basslines are essentially unparalleled in the genre. He has the sensibilities of an accomplished musician in putting the entire sonic spectrum to good use, layering octaves and arpeggios and ensuring not a single moment of his music thins or stagnates.

Smalhans is as "intelligent" as intelligent dance music can get without sacrificing an adjective. Give it a spin.


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