Stream Lindstrom's Special Guest Mix For Recommended Dose : All Songs Considered Hear a rare DJ mix from the producer who helped define the psychedelic space-disco sound.
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Guest Dose: Lindstrøm

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Guest Dose: Lindstrøm

Guest Dose: Lindstrøm

Guest Dose: Lindstrøm

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Space-disco innovator Hans-Peter Lindstrøm made you a mix. Lin Stensrud/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Lin Stensrud/Courtesy of the artist

Space-disco innovator Hans-Peter Lindstrøm made you a mix.

Lin Stensrud/Courtesy of the artist

A Lindstrøm DJ mix? Yes, you did read that correctly — and yes, we too were pleasantly surprised when one of the masters of Norwegian electronic music offered to make one for NPR Music. Hans-Peter Lindstrøm is, after all, a man of many talents — the producer at the center of the 21st century's so-called new-disco and space-disco revivals, a synthesizer-based composer who's carried on from the likes of Vangelis and Manuel Gottsching (see his 2009 masterpiece Where You Go I Go Too) and a collaborator as likely to create effervescent dance-pop music (2010's Real Life is No Cool with Christabelle) as complex future-prog (2015 Runddans, with Todd Rundgren and Emil Nikolaisen). Yet even by his own admission, DJ'ing is not one of those skills he aspired to lord over.

"It's been almost 12 years since I've DJ'd," Hans-Peter says by phone from his house outside of Oslo. "After teaming up with [his regular dance-music collaborator] Prins Thomas quite early, I realized that he's such a good DJ, there's no need for me to compete with him. I thought, I am just better off doing my own thing."

With some exception, Lindstrøm's "own thing" has been 4/4 beats accompanied by clean synthesizer lines — arpeggiated, melodic and pristinely arranged into dance-floor earworms, an update on the great, mechanized Italo tracks that have been the toast of continental clubs since Giorgio Moroder's initial '70s heyday, renewed and time-stretched for contemporary dancers. At its best, Lindstrøm's music is light — a word he uses complimentarily throughout our conversation — without ever feeling lightweight

His newest three-song EP, Windings (which includes the great "Closing Shot," a track Recommended Dose shined a light on earlier this year) displays the form to such perfection, it's almost an epitome of Lindstrøm's powers. Though to hear Hans-Peter tell it, after years of determined seriousness, he was just trying to do something simple, fun and (for him) effortless.

"I've been very focused on albums for a long long time," he says. "And the album I did together with Emil and Todd Rundgren ended up being a very complicated puzzle. It's the kind of album where after you finish — speaking for myself at least — I wanted to something that was lighter, easier on the ear and easy on my mind. I appreciated the possibility of locking the door and working solo again. With these kinds of tracks, I do not see myself struggling in the studio." He punctuates the last two sentences with laughter, which he'll do again and again.

Another aspect of life that work has fostered is a change of listening habits, which played a hand in the sound of his Guest Dose mix. "I got tired of almost all music involving old disco and all kinds of music from the club. So, for about the last year, I have been mostly listening to classical. I never did that before. It represents something different from what it did earlier in my life."

No, Hans-Peter Lindstrøm's selections for this diverse and genre-flowing Guest Dose are not all classical — or, in fact, at all classical. Instead, think of that admission as a palette-cleansing mindset with which the mix was made, one that allows for contemporary songwriters, jazz-rock curios, avant-garde asides, electronic baroque miniatures and, yes, the occasional leftfield disco track, to all live beside one another.

Guest Dose: Lindstrøm

  • 1. Karin Krog, "As A Wife Has A Cow"

    Karin Krog

    "She's a Norwegian vocalist who started to put out music in the mid-'60s. The track is just some talking, but there's something about that kind of weird talking .... I've always been attracted by those kinds of weird interludes on albums that are maybe meant to be transitions — or an intro. It's something that I've done myself .... It's the first time I heard this thing by Karin Krog. It's pretty far out."

  • 2. Bruce Ditmas, "L'Unita"

    Bruce Ditmas

    "Bruce Ditmas played drums on the first solo album of Jaco Pastorius, the first time Jaco and Pat Metheny were playing together. I picked that one because of the sample-and-hold sequence he used. The steady rhythm on that track is from the ARP 2600, the famous old '70s synthesizer. I've been listening quite a lot to "Nobu," a track from Herbie Hancock, which also has that ARP 2600, sample-and-hold sequence. I've been looking for more tracks like that. That sequence represents something very futuristic, at least to my ears, even now, something really modern even though it's 40-years old. I also like the organic drum-kit playing up on top. That's a great combination, the sequenced stuff and stuff played by a human being."

  • 3. Jenny Hval, "Female Vampire"

    Jenny Hval.

    "She's a Norwegian singer that I have briefly met. We've been talking about maybe doing something together in the future. She's just put out an album [Editor's note: Hval's album, Blood Bitch, is actually out in September]. I think it's really good. I have not listened to a lot of the stuff she's done in the past, and I don't think she's listened to a lot of my stuff either. So when we met we were on the same foot; but that can be a good thing. I think sometimes the best collaborations are when two poles are meeting, two people who come together from different genres or scenes."

  • 4. Julia Holter, "Silhouette"

    Julia Holter.

    "She represents quality to me somehow. Maybe it was because she named a track "Marienbad," which is the setting and title of a weird French movie, and because of that I thought, her music must be interesting. [laughs] I listened to her new album and that "Silhouette" track is really really beautiful. It reminds me of Minnie Ripperton — kind of a fragile, high-pitched voice. And the instrumentation in the beginning is really light and airy somehow, like the Charles Stepney arrangements of The Rotary Connection. I kind of get that feeling when listening to this track."

  • 5. Evans Pyramid, "Never Gonna Leave You"

    Evans Pyramid

    "I just found this on Spotify. It's based on this one repeating guitar pattern, very repetitive but very soul-ish. Kind of a mixture of disco and soul. And the voice of the guy sounds a little bit like Arthur Russell sometimes. It's really light and moving; an effortless, airy track."

  • 6. Lindstrøm, "Foehn"

    Lindstrom

    "'Foehn' is an English word that means a really warm wind. To me it kind of represents ... it has some lightness to it. I feel like my track was there to be light, and not be a heavy or dark mood. I needed a name that was also describing the track somehow. I thought of that wind and that name, and it fit perfectly. That track is also like, "keep on going, keep on going." I don't know — there's nothing much to say about it. It's just drum machines and synthesizers and building up a track. [laughs]"

  • 7. Barbara Thompson & Rod Argent, "With You"

    Barbara Thompson & Rod Argent.

    "I was really trying to find as many songs in the jazz-dance genre. They're really up-tempo, and I needed music like that for when I go running. [laughs] I think I found this one on YouTube, actually. It's a really fast-tempo, jazzy song, with a very soulful voice. The album is from the early '80s. There is something about the combination of the soul-ish chords and his voice, combined with a fast tempo and the lightness of the track that really appealed to me. When I was making the mix, I had to listen to it over and over again. It's one of those tracks that I really never get tired of."

  • 8. Dan Lissvik, "I"

    Dan Lissvik.

    "I met Dan once when he was part of The Studio, a Swedish duo, they did one, maybe two albums about 10 years ago that were really good. Joakim [from Lindstrøm's label, Smalltown Supersound] sent me his new album and I liked many of the tracks. And I thought it was a really good track to end with because it's falling apart in a weird dubby kind of way without really losing the beat."

  • 9. Hélène Grimaud & Nitin Sawhney, "Water: Transition 3"

    Hélène Grimaud

    "I found it when I was looking for classical music on Spotify. We were listening to a lot of baroque music, and I stumbled upon something that is a bit more modern, made 300 years after Vivaldi and sounds really fresh. It also represents the kind of music I used to listen to that you weren't allowed to listen to for many years: Pat Metheny, ECM, the new-age jazz kind of stuff, late '80s, stuff like that, stuff you're allowed to listen to again. Maybe. [laughs]"