It's Alright Between Us As It Is


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Review Text Hans-Peter Lindstrøm tends to switch between a few different modes for his full-length and EP releases. While he's best known for his gliding, shimmering space disco tracks, he's also explored glittery disco-pop on Real Life Is No Cool (with Christabelle) and wacked-out prog on albums like Six Cups of Rebel and the Todd Rundgren collaboration Runddans. The 2017 full-length It's Alright Between Us as It Is arrives a year after Windings, a fine three-song EP of straight-ahead floor-fillers, but the Norwegian producer had delved into a few more pop-oriented productions during the preceding years, such as the single "Home Tonight" (with Grace Hall) and a remix of "I Know There's Something Going On" by Frida (ABBA's Anni-Frid Lyngstad). It's Alright generally focuses on steady yet levitating cosmic disco excursions, momentarily tipping the scale toward the artist's pop and experimental impulses. Early on, "Spire" and "Tensions" are sublimely structured club tracks with ticking beats and bubbling arpeggios, and they're both as brisk and refreshing as a morning jog or a nice carbonated beverage. "But It Isn't" features dreamy, breathy vocals from a different Frida (Sundemo), and starts out sounding like a wistful Italo-disco cut before dissolving into mist for the final minute. "Shinin" is a second collaboration with Hall, but it's far more focused and sensuous than the first. Her personality shines through much more, but Lindstrøm's carefully paced beats and dazzling sonics aren't to be overlooked. Following the ebullient Prince-scape of "Drift," the album enters much darker territory for its finale. "Bungl (Like a Ghost)" is a disturbing spoken word nightmare courtesy of Jenny Hval, whose ghastly narrative is scattered around eerie piano on top of a nevertheless chipper beat. "Under Trees" ends the album even more ominously, with vast storm clouds swarming over a more jittery beat pattern. The album delivers the type of lush, cheerful disco Lindstrøm has always been known for, but there's a much darker undercurrent present here, and it feels like one of his most emotionally complex works yet. ~ Paul Simpson

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