Lindstrom's easy and attractive electronic music may not be cutting-edge any more, but it's still gorgeously layered and sparkles as if right out of the box
It's hard to believe It's A Feedelity Affair is Hans-Peter Lindstrom's debut, his tracks have been around (and at the forefront of many clubgoer's minds) for so long. But then again, this is really a collection of previously released vinyl singles, rather than a cohesive artist album. Nice to have them in one convenient (and easily digitalized) package. When you bring his oeuvre together like this, Lindstrom's charm and his limitations emerge stronger than when you hear a track of his on a compilation, or on the dancefloor. Then, it's always refreshing and always distinctive; here, with ten other refreshing, distinctive tracks, Lindstrom's experiments seem much subtler.
The Norwegian electronic wizard has been remixing the DFA roster and killing electroheads around the world with his lush hits for a while, so much so that the label "space disco" already feels entirely his own. "I Feel Space", Lindstrom's breakout song, even got a re-release by Playhouse and a remix by M.A.N.D.Y that sold 17,000 copies -- successful by any dance music standard. On It's a Feedelity Affair, Lindstrom shows how he's come to this conception of "space disco" from a few angles and generally succeeds in crafting pinging, space-filled chilled techno that's surprisingly understated, and surprisingly compelling.
In fact, much of this music sways decidedly Balearic, with a hint of Latin influence ("Gentle As a Giant"'s pattering percussion) and a constantly swaying synth backdrop. His best songs, like "There is a Drink in my Bedroom and I Need a Hot Lady", fill space and time gorgeously, altering the timing of the synth melody in a standard clashing-resolving cycle that's obvious but effective, and a natural evolution over the course of 10-plus minutes that never flags. "Fast & Delirious" sounds almost as deceptively simple as a Mylo track -- but if you listen closely, the pinging synths make a twisted sense; an obviously carefully-constructed homage to this outer-space aesthetic.
The other important facet of Lindstrom's sound is a strong '70s vibe, manifested in wandering synth lines that convey a sense of unhurried, for-the-sake-of-it experimental bliss. "Gentle As a Giant" overlays this wandering synth onto a relaxed but chugging beat with percussive elements all the way through the sound spectrum, filling atmosphere like few other artists can. More relaxed cuts like "Limitations" and "Arp She Said" are an exercise in gorgeous effect: Lindstrom expertly builds atmosphere through hiccupping percussion and sparkling fragments of melody so lush you could drown in them. This isn't academic or dry in any way, but you can't fault the music for its craft or its romantic and careless, declarative melody. When you come to "I Feel Space" in the middle of the disc, it's the return of an old friend, still welcoming and still somehow new after all these years.
As an introduction and overview -- a Lindstrom 101 -- It's a Feedelity Affair is entirely adequate, sonically gorgeous and thematically relevant. But to prove himself a seminal electronic artist, one whose contribution continues to influence a wider swathe of dance music on an ongoing basis, Lindstrom still needs to prove his versatility. Given his prolific output, there's little doubt he will rise to the challenge.