The rise and rise of HAAi
Ok, so you don’t have to be reminded that there was a disco renaissance in 2009. Every dance floor you stepped foot on was dripping with it. Every new musical act, it seemed, was jumping on the disco wagon and by the summer everyone and their Nan was calling themself “Summat summat disco”. But one man that started the resurgance rolling way back was Norwegian producer Hans Peter Lindstrøm. He had already put out an album of starry-eyed-cosmic-dance-floor-disco back in 2005 with his collection of previously released tunes, ‘It’s a Feedelity Affair’. And while every other mother was catching on, he had already switched direction. Collaborations with Prins Thomas (‘Where You Go I Go Too’ and ‘II’) saw a shift into kraut rock and new disco projects of epic proportion. With his fan base well-established, he had us all hooked, leaving us wondering what weird and wonderful venture would be next… and, instead of slamming a cream pie in the face, ‘Real Life Is No Cool’ has done us a favour. Although each song is an individual gem, the whole album runs like a kaleidoscopic coverage of disco’s lifeforce. It’s all there, right from the soulful and psychedelic roots of disco, through to its offspring we hear in the dance music of today. Instead of getting weirder, he’s reined himself back in. The forty-minute musical soundscapes with Prins Thomas have morphed into four minute snapshots of poppy dance tunes with Christablle (aka Solale).
Many have already called Lindstrøm our modern day Giorgio Moroder – so does that make Christabelle his Donna Summer then? Like Moroder and Summer, the ‘Real Life Is No Cool’ duo share a history. This is not the first time they’ve collaborated. Their relationship dates back to one of Lindstrøm’s earliest releases in 2003, Music (In My Mind). Included on this album, it is a track of steady, rolling synths and seductive crooning that casts a space-disco spell over you. This is what we know and love Lindstrøm for. You hear it again in Let’s Practice. A song which cannot escape comparison with Patrick Cowley’s dubbed out remix of I Feel Love – a touch point he also drew upon back in 2005 with I Feel Space. Let’s Practice is a prime example of what Lindstrøm does best – the heart of the song pulses like vintage disco but it shines like a brand new club classic. While these songs give a nod to disco’s past, the album also brings itself right up-to-date. There are the warped vocals and trance beat of Let It Happen, or the undeniably delightful piano riffs and euphoric house build-ups of Looking For What and So Much Fun. Littered amongst these are the downright pop pleasures of Lovesick and High & Low and the funkified horns of Baby Can’t Stop. Calling it pop is not an insult. Simply by adding a vocalist and therefore a verse and a chorus, Lindstrøm has ventured into the world of commercially friendly music.
Considering these tracks span over the last seven years, the album could sound sporadic. Bearing in mind that Christabelle’s vocals were originally recorded as freestyles, only to be edited later, the album could sound chaotic. However, neither of these disparities appear when listening to the album. Together Lindstrøm & Christbelle sound are a perfect match as they successfully journey from the space odyssey of Studio 54, to the blissed-out classic house clubs of Ibiza, through to the sweaty warehouses of today. This album may not change your life, but it beautifully charts the evolution of disco and it sure will make you dance better.