City Paper is not for tourists
Maybe it’s not a coincidence that the space race petered out around the same time that disco music began to advance in popularity. During the late ’70s, aspiring astronauts may have looked to the inhospitable vacuum of orbit, then to the dance floor, and decided that the latter was a better route to the cosmos. This is certainly true of Norwegian dance producers Prins Thomas and Hans-Peter Lindstrøm: The duo’s most recent full-length collaboration, Lindstrøm & Prins Thomas II, travels deep into uncharted space with effusive grooves and tinkling synthesizers—no rocket ship necessary. In their earlier collaborations—the full-length record Lindstrøm & Prins Thomas as well as 12-inch singles like “Further Into the Future”—the duo found its pulsating muse in the Italo and space disco of the early ’80s. The songs were driven by clockwork analog sequencer grooves and spiraling synths that recalled the peaceful opening tones of the Reading Rainbow theme. If Lindstrøm & Prins Thomas II has a retro-minded inspiration, it’s the fusion jazz and krautrock of the early ’70s. “Rothaus” pairs an easy-tempo beat with endless echoes from a burbling keyboard. “Gudene Vet + Snutt” uses gliding synth pitches and droning acoustic guitars to push soft-rock to the absolute limits of its aesthetic boundaries. The album’s long, meandering compositions (most clock in at around nine minutes) and dense atmospherics are loose enough that they feel almost entirely improvised, even though both producers, Lindstrøm in particular, gained prominence by bringing a certain amount of form back to dance music. Their works had hooks—big gaudy ones, full of jazzy harmonies—that were ladled over driving rhythms. Lindstrøm & Prins Thomas II heads in a different direction, or, to be more accurate, no direction. Lindstrøm & Prins Thomas II probably won’t send you into high orbit, but the album’s intergalactic take on quiet storm has its charms, discreet though they may be, if you can slow your pulse enough to embrace them.