By Steve Weinstein
By Bryan Bierman
By Lindsey Rhoades
By Chaz Kangas
By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Jena Ardell
By Jesse Sendejas Jr.
By Katherine Turman
As Thomas Moen Hermansen (a/k/a Prins Thomas) tells it, he was DJing at a club in Oslo, Norway, in the '90s when he cued up Wham!'s "Club Tropicana" and won the heart of Hans-Peter Lindstrøm. True or not—and who would make something like that up?—the song is the perfect encapsulation of the cosmic-disco scene that the two producers have unwittingly built in Scandinavia over the past few years. Irony, hipster revivals, high/low artistic divides—none of it means a thing to them. They're too busy digging for that rare Jan Hammer solo joint.
Lindstrøm especially: His long-awaited debut solo record, Where You Go I Go Too, is a Tangerine Dream–scape with bounce, Popol Vuh meets Munich Machine. A mere three songs make up the album, but the runtime is a hefty 55 minutes. (And it feels much longer than that.) This is no bad thing. Around the same sort of dance-floor-ready singles that brought him to prominence, Lindstrøm builds elaborate intros, outros, and middles that recall the synthesizer experiments of Jean-Michel Jarre and Manuel Göttsching. Lindstrøm unleashed makes the "compact" singles collected on 2006's It's a Feedelity Affair sound like miniatures—a test run for his own Last Supper. And while Where You Go may not be his masterpiece, as a distillation of the space-disco aesthetic, it's unparalleled.
For this brand of easy-going dance music, Lindstrøm's Feedelity label may only be matched in popularity by Prins Thomas's Full Pupp imprint. Serving as a clearinghouse for the best of Norway's myriad producers, Full Pupp has amassed a catalog of sonar pings, oscillating synths, and stolid disco drumming that rivals any contemporary dance label. Sure, it may be hard at this point to tell the Magnus Internationals, Blackbelt Andersens, and, um, Ytre Rymden Dansskolas apart, but as Prins Thomas proves by mixing the label's catalog together in a beat-matched odyssey of shimmer and funk on The Greatest Tits, Vol. 1 (Mental Overdrive's vicious "Original Material" sounds like a Parliament CD skipping—in a good way), it's not all that important to differentiate. The only two names you need to know at the moment are still Lindstrøm and Prins Thomas. Keep an eye on them and they'll lead you to the good stuff—even if you have to get through a little bit of Wham! along the way.