Lindstrøm Where You Go I Go Too

[Smalltown Supersound; 2008]

Styles: minimal techno, space disco, space disco, space disco
Others: Ricardo Villabos, Gui Boratto

Critics threw the term “space disco” around pretty frequently in describing Lindstrøm’s previous album, It’s a Feedelity Affair, and for good reason: it’s rare that a genre tag is so apt. Lindstrøm’s music takes every musical cue ever used to suggest the future and blends it together into a surprisingly sleek whole, with the final result sounding somewhat like the clean white future envisioned in Apple products mixed with the enthusiasm of ’50s serials that rely heavily on the word “raygun.”

It’s a Feedelity Affair was technically a collection of singles, which makes Where You Go I Go Too the Norwegian producer’s first album to be conceived as such, and it shows. Nothing resembling a single appears on the record, which consists of three lengthy tracks, the first of which stretches to nearly half an hour. The album only slows down to catch its breath in transitions; the vast majority of its duration is spent at a propulsive tempo that threatens to become wearing, but manages not to. Despite their length, each track is remarkably focused, generally consisting of a few clean melodic phrases shifting about and built upon methodically, underpinned by washes of synth and quiet whirs, and punctuated by melodramatic drums or laser sounds.

It’s these moments in which the album breaks away from its minimal tendencies — where it embraces the more blatantly emotive and dramatic elements of disco — that the album is at once most interesting and most conflicted. So much of each track consists of tiny movements and subtle alterations that these big, obvious gestures are particularly jarring. Sometimes they infuse the tracks with a giddy energy, especially on “Grand Ideas,” whose melody is already relentless and driving enough so that injections of thumping rock drums are more enjoyably over-the-top than irritatingly cheesy. A stretch of syncopated, almost jazzy figures on “The Long Way Home” is less welcome, breaking up the established energy of the track and calling far too much attention to its silliness.

These moves between minimalist restraint and maximalist enthusiasm result in an album with a bit of an identity crisis. Is it aiming for blissed-out trances or audacious disco energy? Is this a space disco of clean white surfaces or of lasers and ridiculous outfits? Luckily, for most of its duration, Where You Go I Go Too manages to assimilate the more enjoyable elements of both of these alternate possibilities into a seamless and engaging whole, with only a few moments of awkward uncertainty.

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