Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Six Cups of Rebel - Lindstrom

Six Cups of Rebel

Smalltown Supersound.

SCQ Rating: 48%

The first cut on ‘No Release’ opens as if scoring the dramatic centerpiece to a film, with loops of cascading organ building off one another to a peak – five minutes in the making – that suddenly cuts out. It seemed ham-fisted for a track so overloaded to amount to something ultimately substance-less but prologues often require the benefit of the doubt, right? The artist is establishing a scene and, by ‘No Release’’s gravity, (first name) Lindstrom looked to be redefining his own brand of epic, spaced out, kraut-inspired electronica.

And in a way, Six Cups of Rebel does offer a newly maximized version of the directions Lindstrom took on 2008’s Where You Go I Go Too, not that anyone really needed those three-tracks – which spanned a mammoth fifty-five minutes – assembled into a more grandiose arena. Whatever territory Lindstrom has staked over the course of these seven bloated and sugar-laced tracks, it certainly isn’t space-disco which, by his own definition, aired its melodic tendencies over subtle beats that felt as progressive as they were prog-ish.

It isn’t healthy either. The seasick carousel-like keys, 8-bit video game sound effects and gruelingly repetitive bass line that together constitute ‘Magick’ come off as downright nightmarish. When Six Cups Of Rebel isn’t aimlessly meandering, it’s tragically organized around bad ideas like the maddening “all I want is a quiet place to live” phrase, pitch-shifted to hell on the otherwise stitched-together ‘Quiet Place To Live’. It felt silly to pardon the overblown nature of opener ‘No Release’ upon my first listen; for one thing because I’d yet to give Lindstrom’s vision for this record a chance but mostly because he’s Lindstrom – the sort of musician you instantly give the benefit of the doubt because doubts concerning his music arise so seldom. But Six Cups of Rebel proves a wasteland of good intentions, from its dithering foundation to a palette that sounds consistently (and bewilderingly) cheap.

Independent music on the whole has been mining the 80s for almost a decade. It has been fruitful. And over the last few years I’ve figured the artist likely to kill the nostalgia generation once and for all would be some unknown chill-wave upstart – a last straw to break the scene’s obsession. Now that seems illogical; the idea that one extra Bandcamp page could extinguish so popular a muse. No, it seems far more plausible that the culprit would have to be an artist of merit and influence. Still, I never expected the culprit to be Lindstrom.

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