Ohh yeah that guy. Wait, who? To be honest I never heard of Todd Terje until the beginning of this sentence. My interest in It’s The Arps EP was merely based on a vague promise of disco. Well, holy shit Todd Terje never disappoints. Well, at least he didn’t disappoint now, I mean we’ve just gotten to know each other. I am not going to start speaking like we have been acquainted since high school.
Let me take you back to the early 80’s, when American disco was in its death throes. Disco’s extended after party (read afterlife), however was just getting started across the European landscape. While house, techno and garage were blooming in America, Europeans blew their minds on Italo disco, Euro beat and space disco. How does this style of music differ from American disco? Take out all the funk and soul and replace it with a flying saucer and you are almost there. Todd Terje takes us back to that special place and allows us to dance, in our minds and souls, under the constellations.
It’s the Arps EP is a short four track collection with the last two song combined for the fifth. While I usually allow electronic music to get away with short releases, Todd Terje demands a full length if nothing else to round out his style. Beginning with the very strong space disco track “Inspector Norse,” Terje fully introduces himself as a Norwegian Viking in a glittering leisure suit. The track is fun, easy and celebratory of a genre still yet explored by the mass market. Terje’s continuation into It’s The Arps, however presents more possibilities with more problems.
“Myggsommer” is a woozy synth track with preset drum break. If I did not spend the last two years listening to 50’s lounge I could let this track pass without analysis. But I cannot. Terje is either paying tribute to the great exotica musician Martin Denny, ripping him off entirely or creating something similar unknowingly. “Myggsommer” in performance and structure is identical to Martin Denny’ foray into moog exotica — specifically on the 1969 album Exotic Moog. But then again, if Terje and I both share the same love for early exotica records gone electronic, it will only strengthen my love for this record.
The unknowing stumble midrace through It’s the Arps gives a momentary pause when approaching the EP’s final track — the 11 minute opus “Swing Star.” The final track has glaring similarities to the work of Lindstrom — who is also on the same label Smalltown Supersound. Terje’s odyssey is much more steeped in rich nostalgia than the retro futuristic Lindstrom. It is also less successful because of its relatively short running time. At times, “Swing Star” feels reserved for fear of replicating Lindstrom’s Where You Go I Go Too. This is a shame because while at 11 minutes the track feels nowhere near ripe. This could fit an entire side of an LP or even a full 8 track cartridge.
It’s the Arps is a completely fun album which for some reason was released at the dead of winter. Its sheer weightlessness demands it be brought out in summer weather. In fact, after this review is done, I am storing this EP in a metaphorical vault to age for 6 months. I shall report back when it is time to dance on the beach beneath the stars.
Swing Star (part 1)
Swing Star (part 2)
Swing Star (parts 1 & 2)