For a guy who made his name remixing the works of well-to-do artists, Lindstrøm’s penchant for innovation is much greater than many may have initially thought. The Norweigian’s latest is a touch less accessible than his previous releases, dabbling in drone, his own pitch-shifted vocals, guitar effects and Space Odyssey mindfucks, but there continues to be an edge, a seeming desire to refrain from borrowing too many elements from any particular genre. Six Cups of Rebel is less-than-danceable in places, but that won’t be why you like or dislike it. It’s much more interesting as a journey inward into darker, more anxious territory. It’s not as satisfying as 2008’s Where You Go I Go Too, but it’s not exactly fair to compare the two, either.
Six Cups of Rebel is a statuesque 53 minutes, containing only 7 songs, each one a key part of its architecture. Opener “No Release” is a streaming cascade of burly church organs and keyboards that slowly build into… not much. It’s just a five finger exercise, a throat clearing before the album’s best cut and lead single “De Javu” boogies its way into the frame. Wiggly synths, busy drumming and effects from around the universe come together for a claustrophobic dance floor number with a great refrain of “I can’t get no release.” The downside is that the record’s oh-so-obvious high point comes so early.
Next comes “Magik,” with funky keyboards, mechanized vocal clips. It changes itself up about four of five times over its 8 minutes, keeping things interesting even when you’re not as engaged as you’d perhaps like to be. “Quiet Place to Live” is sinister and eerie, while “Call Me Anytime” is a little more upbeat, starting off as a medley of sound before propping itself upon a shuffling disco beat. The title-track is free form disco with noodling wah-wah pedals and iconoclast drumming that scoffs at categorization, and “Hina” wraps things up with more laser effects, xylophones and an army of drum machines.
There are good ideas scattered about on the record, but when you have to pass through several minutes of cacophonous effects and layers of sound, it can get a little exhausting. There’s no doubt Lindstrøm is capable of crafting delightfully weird dance music. Be warned, this record isn’t that, but it also kind of is. Simply put, Six Cups of Rebel is an oddball album with appealing experiments and hit-and-miss dance music.
Plugging away since 1999, The National finally hit mainstream success with the release of their 2010 album High Violet. Of course, this entailed their first world tour, but in the new documentary Mistaken For Strangers, it’s only the backdrop for the relationship between lead singer Matt Berninger and his younger brother Tom, who had no idea that these short videos he was shooting would turn into a public document of their troubled, if still loving brotherhood.
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