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Album Review

In this post-millennial age of anxiety about the continued relevance of the album format, Hans-Peter Lindstrøm has handily established himself as the king of neo-future-retro-disco without ever bothering to release a "proper" album of his own material. Technically speaking, Where You Go I Go Too marks the Norwegian's first full-length foray, although his zealous, literal-minded approach to the format hardly makes for a more conventional "album" than the 2006 singles comp that was his solo CD debut, It's a Feedelity Affair. Where You Go has but three tracks — roughly 30, 10 and 15 minutes long, respectively — which play as the movements of a single, epic, hour-long work rather than as individual pieces. The transitions into and out of each piece are relatively gradual and subtle, and while each has its own distinct set of constituent material (motivic polyrhythmic patterns, melodic riffs, arpeggiator settings), they tend to be developed in similar ways, none of which should be new to Lindstrøm's followers: constantly growing and kaleidoscoping layers of instrumental texture, lovingly teased and tweaked electronic filters and effects, unexpected and dazzling harmonic shifts, and occasionally spacy synth swooshes that come along to tear everything down, only so it can be built back up again. The song titles vaguely suggest the concept of a monumental journey — Lindstrøm has recommended listening to the album while walking or traveling by plane or train — and this is unquestionably music about exploring and relishing the process of change and mutation itself, rather than advancing any specific, tangible musical content.

Even the 29-minute title piece contains only as many discernible musical ideas as your average five- to seven-minute techno track (and notably fewer, for instance, than earlier Lindstrøm epics like "There's a Drink in My Bedroom" and the 12" version of "Turkish Delight"), but its luxurious length lets those ideas stretch out gloriously and (for both artist and listener) indulgently, allowing a slow, fluid evolution that gestures towards a cosmic infinity. It's far from minimalist — the track includes a reported 70 seamlessly blended layers of live and electronic sound — but it maintains a sense of simplicity and groundedness that keeps it engaging and listenable in spite of its ambitious scope. And while it doesn't entirely eschew the dancefloor focus which dominated much of Lindstrøm's earlier output, it's hardly in much of a hurry to get there, taking a full six minutes before a kick-drum enters and later wandering off into a floating ambient oblivion where the only remaining pulse is the sound of measured heavy breathing. The ten-minute "Grand Ideas" feels almost negligible by comparison, spending most of its running time massaging a single, simple but insistent chordal synth riff into a frothy, ecstatic disco lather, but it's also critically direct and pop-centric, by far the album's most readily danceable moment. "The Long Way Home" stretches out again, with an extended opening section of percolating, marimba-like synths and breezy guitar snatches. A slowed-down disco heartbeat rises and subsides, giving way to almost preposterously lush lounge-pop featuring the album's only extended melodic line, not that it's one of much consequence. The vibe is rangy and exultant, relaxed more than majestic, a happy homecoming nodding more knowingly than ever towards its neon-blazed '80s signifiers (balearic, soundtrack synth pop, new age, electro-cheese), and as blissful and bemused as the vehemently unpretentious shot of Lindstrøm, unkempt and grinning, which graces the album cover — it's practically anti-epic. Perhaps not the epochal statement some may have expected, Where You Go is nevertheless an entirely satisfying display and consolidation of Lindstrøm's strengths and hallmarks, and an expansive, exploratory journey well worth tagging along for. [Smalltown Supersound offered a special, bonus CD edition in December of 2008. The extra disc contained Prins Thomas' edits of the three songs on the original record (with the title track broken into two pieces for easier digestion.)] ~ K. Ross Hoffman, Rovi


Born: 16 February 1973 in Stavanger, Norway

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Starting out as a relatively unknown figure in the Norwegian dance underground, Hans-Peter Lindstrøm experienced one of the most spectacular success stories of any Norwegian producer or artist. Starting his own label, Feedelity, in 2002, Lindstrøm released a series of highly acclaimed EPs and 12" singles over the next few years, becoming an increasingly well-respected producer and remixer on the international club scene, both on his own and together with his longtime collaborator Prins Thomas. He...
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Where You Go I Go Too (Bonus Track Version), Lindstrøm
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