With its origins firmly rooted in the basements of Chicago and Detroit, dance music has never easily lent itself to the LP format. With more and more producers favouring to release back-to-back, quick fire EPs rather than one cohesive work, DJ and producer Todd Terje would be forgiven for approaching his highly-anticipated debut album, aptly titled ‘It’s Album Time,’ with some trepidation. If Terje was anxious it doesn’t show; ‘It’s Album Time‘, which dropped today on his own Oslo-based imprint Olsen Records, is a joyous and playful journey through disco, funk and house, designed for the intimacy of “at home” listening.
Kicking round since the early naughties, tantalizing fans with a string of sporadic singles and remixes, Todd Terje (real name Terje Olsen) couldn’t have picked a better time to release an ode to his bubbling house music legacy. As a result, ‘It’s Album Time‘ features four of Terje’s biggest tracks to date, including 2012’s stratospherically successful ‘Inspector Norse,’ which still garners an impressive level of club play even today. Other past Terje releases include ‘Strandbar‘ and ‘Swing Star‘ part 1 & 2, which each get their own revisit on the LP’s track list. Despite the obvious temptation to rehash old tracks, Todd Terje has thankfully rejected the idea of crafting a glorified “greatest hits,” instead filling the rest of ‘It’s Album Time‘ with unheard originals.
Consisting of 8 previously unreleased, genre defying cuts, Todd Terje’s new work more than holds up when sat next to the template of the producer’s previous hits. The LP kicks off with a suitable amount of rumbling fanfare thanks to ‘Intro (Its Album Time),’ before slotting nicely into the second track, ‘Leisure Suit Preben‘. The first piece of meat on the LP’s bones, it’s a cute yet chugging piano jam of gradually building brilliance that could almost be mistaken for a catchy TV show theme. Next up, ‘Preben Goes To Acapulco‘ brings the first taste of Terje’s signature 80’s style funk, offset by an tinkling arpeggio effect that continually pops up throughout. ‘Svensk Sas‘ sees the Norwegian producer show off a little, flexing his muscles when it comes to samba-style arrangement and high-energy musicality. Next ‘Delorean Dynamite‘ and ‘Oh Joy‘ take top spots as the most “danceable” of the LP’s 8 originals, and are set to have Terje fans fervently drumming on their steering wheels all the way back home. Late comer ‘Alfonso Muskedunder‘ is perhaps the most playful and charmingly frenetic of the whole bunch, featuring high intensity drum solos, brassy horns and a whole host of other brazen instrumental shebang, giving fans a glimpse into Terje simply having some fun.
Ultimately, it’s Todd Terje’s rework of the 1980 Robert Palmer hit ‘Johnny and Mary‘ that will make most listener’s ears prick up, and not just because of its cigarette-soaked melody, delivered by none other than Brian Ferry. Although a little random in comparison to the other tracks on ‘It’s Album Time,’ ‘Johnny and Mary’ stands up alone and as part of LP’s package, demonstrating a sensitive, lyrical touch not before seen from the Scandinavian native. It’s cinematic and thick with drawn-out emotion, supporting the sentiment that Terje’s LP really is an “album” rather than a cobbled together, cut and paste job from a bunch of old club tracks.
If ‘It’s Album Time‘ was designed to present Todd Terje “the artist” rather than his much-lauded DJ moniker, then this LP is, without a doubt, a stunning success. It’s unlikely you’ll hear any of these new Todd Terje originals whilst on the dancefloor, which might serve to isolate some of his more club hardened devotees, but will nonetheless provide house fans a source of on-going enjoyment from the comfort of their own home.
HBF Rating 5/5
Todd Terje’s ‘It’s Album Time‘ is out now on Olsen Records.