It’s a Feedelity Affair
Feedelity / Smalltown Supersound
he bugbear lurking in the basement of dance music is timeliness. Aficionados can pin a year on a track by its bassline, annoying film sample, or siren noise. Tech-heads will go further and tell you what preset number is being used on the DX-7, or parse a particular analog swoop as MiniMoog or Polyfusion. But the same scene-puppies will be quick to justify such a litmus test—because the best dance / techno / disco / what-you-wanna-call-it records are precisely the opposite of constrained by date—they're time-less.
So while many will be quick to whip out referents from the past thirty years of synthesizer-based dance music history to cage and taser this collection of 12" A-sides and B-sides, the point will be as missed as the halcyon days of your first roll. (Yeah, that was great wasn't it?) The game being played here isn't nostalgia, it's—wait, who said this was a game? Certainly not me, and certainly not Hans-Peter Lindstrøm. This is a deadly serious, highly contagious, completely required, and rambunctiously guilt-free pleasure from the frozen northland. And despite the fact that some of these tracks date back eons ago to 2004 or 2003 (techno-years are like dog-years) and were originally spread across a multitude of vinyl sides, they sound both up-to-the-minute and astonishingly like a planned-out album.
While the colors dipped into for the length and breadth of the album are of a shared palette, there are certain moods that fit more distinctly around pairs or triplets of songs. Openers "Fast and Delirious" and "Limitations" are car-starting anthems, based around similarly irresistible hand-clapping snares (though at very different tempos) and fluid, languid basslines. At the other end of both spectrum and album, this spring's "Another Station" and last winter's "I Feel Space" are kissing cousins and easy highlights—twin nubiles eating ice cream in Giorgio Moroder's lap. "Arp She Said" and "Further Into the Future" work as Lindstrøm's ethnic experiments—his "La Isla Bonita" and "La Dolce Vita," respectively. The former tickles the feet with Spanish guitar action before drifting into a dreamscape of analog warmth that manages to be more pop-ambient than ambient-pop—the latter simply begs to be performed on Italian TV circa 1983. Standing center and alone is the monumental conceit of "There Is a Drink in My Bedroom," eleven minutes of ridiculously beautiful synth programming that would make even the most hard-hearted realist want to board that rocketship to Venus.
If we kept going, we'd find something to say about each of the eleven tracks herein—for each has its merits and displays yet another side of the Lindstrøm oeuvre—sensuality, humor, dreaminess, wit, physicality... like I said, if we kept going... But we won't. Instead we'll leave you with the following thought: if dance music is meant to be, at its best, absolutely timeless, then this album is a veritable time capsule—one that could be unearthed and enjoyed at any point along the three decade-plus timeline since "going out dancing" meant something apart from jukeboxes and big bands. Barring the growth of extraneous limbs or the sudden unearthing of a hitherto unknown dimension of audible sound, I imagine It's a Feedelity Affair will sound just as good three decades-plus from now. Which is to say, transcendentally moving and without contemporary peer. Forget about all that "hippie-house" and "space-disco" nonsense—this is nothing more or less than the musical equivalent of magical realism. Keep one eye on your booty and one on the stars.
Reviewed by: Mallory O’Donnell
Reviewed on: 2006-10-30