Release Date: Apr 8, 2014
Record label: Olsen Records
Genre(s): Electronic, Pop/Rock, Club/Dance
Nine years after "Eurodans," his 2004 breakthrough EP, Todd Terje is finally releasing his debut album: It's Album Time. Given the wry grin of that title and Bendik Kaltenborn's outrageous cover art, it's only fitting that It's Album Time is a saucy trip through all of the influences that Terje has nodded to over his career. Across its 60 minutes, there are loose-hipped lounge tracks, funky jazz noodlings, Italo epics and humid piano house stormers.
Norway’s dance music scene has been notoriously lacklustre during its sojourns to Blighty. Black metal and frontier-shattering pop forays (á la Annie) tend to be the nation’s biggest sonic exports, and the ones that brandish the weightiest clout on our shores. Okay, so there’s Röyksopp, but they duck ‘n’ weave through so many genres it’s unfair/inaccurate to just pigeonhole them as one singular thing.
Review Summary: Give life back to musicTodd Terje’s much-anticipated debut LP It’s Album Time is what Daft Punk’s comeback album should have been. Now, bear with me a moment; I’m not stupid, and I realize Terje’s disco and Daft Punk’s disco sound almost nothing alike. That being said, one of the finest qualities of It’s Album Time is its attitude towards the music it purveys.
In early 2012, the music director of a Norwegian state-funded radio station called P3 declined to add a song called "Inspector Norse" by disco producer Todd Terje to its rotation, saying it sounded like "background music at a beach bar." When an interviewer asked him what he thought about the radio station's description, Terje said he agreed with it. "It sounds like elevator music. Good, danceable elevator music." Then, in a pun fit only for hypothetical dads, he added, "Elevate your body!" In Terje's world, there is no distinction made between beating and joining—it's all join, join, join.
If the last 10 years have proved anything, it's that Norwegian DJ and producer Todd Terje knows how to fill dance floors. But, rather surprisingly, this king of neo-disco—despite spreading his infectious electronica across countless EPs and remixes—has never released a full-length until now. He arrives with a vibrant LP that digs deep into his background of electro-eclecticism, mining a rich seam of influences from funk, house, and disco to jazz, easy listening, and even muzak.
Though he’s been DJing, producing and remixing for a decade now, Todd Terje is a man so anonymous, even he doesn’t care how you pronounce his surname. “I stopped correcting people many years ago,” he recently told an interviewer, with a shrug. But the Norwegian producer’s debut album is packed with personality, its retro-futuristic, cosmic-disco grooves forming a clear picture of Terje as life and soul of the party.The whole thing is wrapped in a cloak of daftness, from the cover art’s illustration of a louche Terje, like an offcut from a Stella Artois advert, to the ridiculous title.
Norwegian producer-DJ Todd Terje has built his reputation on the single format—doling out glossy, disco-leaning remixes and stand-alone dance epics over the past 10 years. But his expansive ideas are built for an old-fashioned LP: With It’s Album Time, Terje’s debut full-length, this oft-touted “summer jam” maestro bundles all his eccentricities (some old, some new) into one ecstatic, hour-long blast. The sheer amount of breadth alone is breathtaking: Terje’s greatest strength is his stubborn refusal to play any beat straight or leave any bassline to a boring 4/4 strut.
Norwegians aren't supposed to dance. They're not even supposed to want to dance. For all the presumptions made about the body- and soul-priming effects of repression, none are usually borne out on the dance floor, where the apparent fusion of all Scandinavian ball-and-socket joints below the belt becomes grotesquely evident. If you dug a hole into the earth directly under Funkytown, you'd emerge on the other side right smack in the center of Oslo.
Terje Olsen's debut LP is a rich mix indeed. The Norwegian DJ has a knack for melody and modulation and a penchant for cheesy synths, big arpeggios and Giorgio Moroder basslines. He also has a gift for genre-splicing – opener proper Leisure Suit Preben morphs from a loungecore French film score into a Daft Punk-esque disco number, while the misleadingly titled Svensk Saas is tropicalia with scat-singing through a vocoder.
Since Norwegian nu-disco king Todd Terje's 2012 single "Inspector Norse," from his It's the Arps EP, hit it big, he's been on a bit of a hot streak: after releasing "Lanzarote," a collaborative single with fellow Norwegian disco maven Lindstrøm, Terje dropped back to back EPs, the international-flavoured Strandbar and Spiral, which boasted twin house epics "Spiral" and "Q."On It's Album Time, Terje spends as much time in the lounge as he does on the dance floor. That sounds like a bad thing, but walking the fine line between kitsch and genius is hardly new territory for Terje. After the sparkling ruby herring Terje throws with the album's "Intro," "Leisure Suit Preben" lumbers in, slowly at first — disappointingly, even.
As winter slowly gives way to spring, it becomes necessary to seek out some new vibrant sounds that suggest endless illuminated vistas, sun-kissed beach parties and all manner of decadent indulgence. Well, perhaps that’s not quite what everyone wants, but in the world of Norwegian DJ and producer Todd Terje that’s what life’s all about, at least on this long awaited and glorious debut album, the brilliantly titled ‘It’s Album Time.’This is a record that positively revels in insouciant cool and beatific disco vibes. Terje’s sound is very much rooted in the stylish space disco sound of Giorgio Moroder and here he teases his slinky disco sounds and mesmerising arpeggiated beats in all manner of directions.
Norwegian DJ/producer Todd Terje has said that his country's restrictive alcohol laws and subsequent short set times have forced him to approach his craft more playfully than his European counterparts. That anything-goes attitude carries over into his debut full-length, which is teeming with vibrant, melodic hooks, vintage textures and loungey rhythms - all inspired by disco, jazz fusion, classic British TV and the computer game Leisure Suit Larry. It's accessible like the best pop music, and idiosyncratic like the best dance music.
After striking the underground dance music scene with an infrequent string of releases since the mid-‘00s, from hit remixes to collaborations to his It’s the Arps EP, Todd Terje (aka Terje Olsen) has finally assembled an album. It’s Album Time gestures towards Olsen’s growing confidence as a producer and newfound preparedness for curating a collection of his own musical pieces. Featuring a robust range in pace, imagery, and vocal implementation, the record is the most eclectic and thought-out work from Olsen to date.
After a decade of releasing singles, remixes, and edits to large amounts of acclaim among in-the-know dance music fans, Norwegian whiz kid Todd Terje finally made an album of his own in 2014. It's Album Time is a pretty self-explanatory title, though it could have been called "I Love Many Different Styles of Dance Music and Will Proceed to Put My Warped Spin on All of Them." Well, that one would have been a mouthful, but it does sort of explain what was in Terje's head as he whips from one style to the next over the course of the record's 12 tracks. Stylish neo-disco is what he's best known for, and if any one style dominates, it's that.
You could never accuse Todd Terje of rushing giddily into the business of making an album: the prosaically titled It's Album Time arrives a full 10 years after the release of his first single. A lot has changed in that time. Back then, Terje was just one of a string of Scandinavian producers working in a fertile area where disco revivalism met a kind of sun-kissed eclecticism inspired by the early-90s Balearic scene.
Todd Terje is one of “those guys”—a guy whose work you probably recognize even if you can’t exactly place the name. There is nothing wrong with that, but any artist with a modicum of talent and ego would obviously want to fix that sooner than later. Norwegian-born Terje Olsen’s whole aesthetic has been reappropriating ‘70s and ‘80s dance music into a modern context, completely unafraid to line himself up with such oft-bemoaned tropes such as classic disco in order to make his name.
Well well, look who finally got round to releasing a long player. Ten years since his first release, Norwegian producer Todd Terje has enjoyed an elevated status over the past couple of years, be it through the immense Re-masters of the Universe remix collection, his infamous re-edits or the ubiquitous “Inspector Norse”, pointlessly tagged onto the end of the album, but always a joy. Just judging this on that gloriously simple album title, you know what you’re about to indulge in is going to be bags of fun, and if you are aware of Terje’s leftfield leanings and dismissal of anything conventional, it’s going to be an eclectic ride.
Todd Terje, It's Album Time It would have been easy for It’s Album Time to be only half as good as it turned out to be, because resting laurels on an innovative idea is always easier than mining the contents to discover the depth. Luckily, Norwegian producer/DJ/facial hair enthusiast Todd Terje cares too much. He always has. It’s but one of the reasons he developed such a seminally progressive reputation in the mid-00’s (his frequent collaborations with fellow Norwegian and DJ icon Lindstrøm probably didn’t hurt).
Here’s a question I was asking myself prior to hearing It’s Album Time: should Todd Terje have made an album? The Oslovian producer may display an almost frightening ability to turn out summer anthems (2011 – ‘Ragysh’, 2012 – ‘Inspector Norse’, 2013 – ‘Strandbar’), but that doesn’t mean he’s got a long player in him. In fact, given how close those tracks came to perfecting the cosmic Scandi-disco formula, is there even much more to be said? But of course, anyone enjoying a run of form like Terje’s is likely to have a crack at the format sooner or later. In the album’s schlocky intro track, a voice (presumably Terje’s own) recites its title over sunkissed guitar chords and a fulsome disco beat.
Todd Terje, or Terje Olsen to give him his non-showbiz handle, arrived many many years ago, with a selection of re-edits and mixes, re-tooling the likes of 'Love Is The Drug' and Chic's 'I Want Your Love' for the modern set. He co-wrote the Robbie Williams chart-topper 'Candy', and has collaborated with Franz Ferdinand among others. His own music has been mainly all-killer, with a string of essential numbers (some here, some - like the amazing 'Lanzarote' - absent) and EPs galore.