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Lindstrøm Dazzles on the Spiraling Space Odyssey “Tensions”

Despite the song’s title, “Tensions” glides along like butter on a hot pan.

by Patrick Lyons

We haven’t gotten a solo full-length from Norwegian electronic producer Lindstrøm, who broke out with his spacey dancefloor compositions in the mid-2000s, since 2012’s Smalhans. In the interim he’s certainly kept himself occupied, collaborating with fellow Scandinavians Say Lou Lou and Todd Terje on singles, working with living legend Todd Rundgren on the intriguing-but-unsatisfying album Runddans, and releasing the Windings EP last year. But with the exception of that lively Terje collaboration, “Lanzarote,” and Windings’ superb opening track, “Closing Shot,” Lindstrøm fans have mostly been deprived of the vibrant, entrancing jams that first got them hooked.

Two tracks into the rollout, it sounds like his next album will provide those in spades. It’s Alright Between Us As It Is, out on October 20th, will feature the previously-released “Shinin,” a track that effortlessly blends the meandering trippiness of Lindstrøm’s early work with a pop sensibility that’s strengthened by diva-licious guest vocals from Grace Hall. Additional vocals on the album will be provided by Jenny Hval and Frida Sundemo, making for a pretty crowded guestlist for the usually-instrumental Lindstrøm, but he’s still got some wordless space odysseys up his sleeve. The album’s second single, “Tensions,” is definitive proof of that.  

Despite the song’s title, “Tensions” glides along like butter on a hot pan, warm synth pads conversing with spiraling arpeggios and a tasteful, propulsive midrange bassline. The real heavy lifting is done by the drums, which consist of at least three different tracks that harmoniously coexist, finding tasty polyrhythms without ever coming close to sounding busy. The whole thing’s bright and playful, and could stand as a perfect counterpoint to someone who believes that all five-minute-plus electronic instrumentals are boring. Although Lindstrøm’s work is still much more muted and minimal than Terje’s, you can definitely hear the latter’s fantastically garish 2014 full-length It’s Album Time rubbing off on his friend and frequent collaborator.

“Tensions” is available as a 12” with an accompanying remix by Will Long. Order one here, and preorder It’s Alright Between Us As It Is here


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Patrick Lyons is a music writer based in Portland who is equally enthralled by black metal and Southern rap-- catch him making maddeningly eclectic choices on the aux cord.



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