How boring everything would be if there weren’t any radical changes in style, like the ones in this album! In “ Six Cups of Rebel”, the Norwegian Lindstrøm has chosen to turn his back almost completely on the wave of cosmic disco that he was the most popular representative of a few years ago, to try out a progressive funk-disco where there is hardly any room at all for little cosmic touches. The change is so brusque that many of those who admired his previous album probably won’t give him a second chance, because at the first listening, it’s really hard to digest.
It seems that Lindstrøm wasn’t too pleased about the unanimity of the critics regarding his previous work, “ Where You Go I Go Too”, judging by the references being made in interviews: the night of crazy love with Neil Young’s vocoder in “Trans” or the more restless side he shows, even close to the European electronic vanguard of Vangelis days in “Beauborg” don’t give any clues about sound beyond being oddities within the careers of their respective creators. That’s what this work is, an oddity— Lindstrøm seems to want to get as far away as possible from the sound of his previous album.
It is this same kamikaze intention, based on a similar stylistic choice, bordering on excess, with a rock attitude and a fixation on 80’s sound that Daft Punk, LCD Soundsystem or Justice have already explored over the last decade, with greater or lesser success. But the most interesting thing is that Lindstrøm’s maximalist bet is arriving only a few months after Gang Gang Dance opened “ Eye Contact” with a phrase –“ I can hear everything, it’s everything time”– which people like James Ferraro want to make iconic, while critics like Simon Reynolds consider it to be representative of how the generation that has grown up listening to music on the Internet consumes songs. This phrase could be applied perfectly to what seems to be Lindstrøm’s interest: making us feel like the extraterrestrial played by David Bowie in “ The Man Who Fell to Earth”, simultaneously processing information from several televisions, a sequence that foretold our current computer habits, where windows and tabs multiply endlessly on the computer screen.
But “ Six Cups of Rebel” can especially be compared to one of the key albums from last year: “Glass Swords” by Rustie. They share an attraction to progressive rock that, in Rustie’s case, served to channel a series of sound influences and stimuli into something coherent that could be recognised as a sound of its own. The difference between them is that Lindstrøm doesn’t belong to the same age generation as Rustie, and you can tell, maybe by the fact that while the Brit moves through sound superabundance like a fish in water, Lindstrøm accumulates layers vertically to the point that it becomes suffocating.
So, an epic quality and the continual sleight of hand of releasing tension replace cosmic pastoralism from the start, from the cathedral block of marble that is “No Release” –a revealing title, of course– leading up to “Deja Vu,” the lyrics of which insist: “I can’t get no release.” The rest of the album continues on in the same hyperactive state of tireless exaltation, with cosmic funky-disco (“ Magik”), acid bubbling (“Six Cups of Rebel”), glints of disco (“ Quiet Place To Live”), rhythmic fluctuations between regimented 4x4 and freer forms, finally converging on “ Hina,” a cut that is finally, this time, projected into space.
Lindstrøm has said that he isn’t sure whether he expects people to dance to this album, although it does transmit a feeling that immerses you deeply, very physically, trying to stretch each climactic moment to the infinite. Excessive and epic, yes. It’s irritating, especially for people who were looking for a second part to “ Where You Go I Go Too,” too. Difficult, especially in the beginning. But what is undeniable is that you can tell that every second is planned very carefully, showing a handling of his abilities without which a project of the epic dimensions of “ Six Cup of Rebel” would have been an absolute failure