My favourite single track of 2009 thus far, as I mentioned in last week’s Boredoms “Super Roots 10” blog, is the Lindstrøm mix of that band’s “Ant 10”. Good news, then, that the Lindstrøm & Prins Thomas’ new album turned up a few days later.
There’s currently a small glut of new cosmic dance music, of which “II” by this pair of Norwegians is very much at the forefront.. Like so much else around at the moment (most of it, in truth, tactfully avoided by this blog), there’s a biggish ‘80s influence evident in these eight gleaming tracks. But rather than kitschy, disposable electropop, Lindstrøm & Prins Thomas shoot for something more epic, often recalling a luxe, hyper-tooled update of Krautrock.
A big influence, then, on these deliriously noodly, unravelling grooves is Manuel Göttsching’s “E2-E4”, the 60-minute extrapolation of proto-trance waves and freakout guitar that pre-empted so much house, especially of the Balearic kind. There’s a compelling languour to the way Lindstrøm & Prins Thomas work here, amiably fiddling with the mix and factoring live instrumentation into these apparently endless grooves.
It’s a record to get comfortably lost in, only occasionally being startled out of its enveloping vibes by the odd strange echo. Someone here in the office mentioned Tangerine Dream’s soundtrack to “Risky Business”, for instance, and the plangent piano line that lopes gently through “For Ett Slikk Og Ingenting” provides something I never thought I’d write about: a piece of music that’s lovely in spite of reminding me of Elton John’s “Song For Guy”.
More healthily, another colleague referenced Roxy Music – I’m assuming the instrumentals from “Avalon” – as the sleek opening “Cisco” began. And on the outstanding “Note I Love You +100”, the juxtaposition of synths and twanging guitar lead is totally reminiscent of something from the first Michael Rother solo albums.
The general atmosphere, as a consequence, recalls that subtle evolution from kosmische extravagance to a sort of streamlined technocracy. It’s a tremendously warm, easy-going, but still energising record, and one that is more enjoyable than last year’s still fine solo album from Lindstrøm, “Where You Go I Go Too”; “II” cuts back on the bombast that dominated there – not so many Jean-Michel Jarre and “War Of The Worlds” references, for a start.
Anyway, excellent album. And there’s a similarly engrossing one from The Field that I’ll try and write something about in the next week or so.