Todd Terje: It’s Album Time

Music Reviews
Todd Terje: It’s Album Time

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. “Leisure Suit Preben” is Kraftwerk soundtracking a classic Hollywood film, pairing dusty strings over sequenced synth-bass; “Alfonso Muskedunder” is swinging ‘70s Latin jazz-fusion set in 7/8, morphing from a sublime scatted theme to a frenetic drum solo to a deft vocal breakdown worthy of Bobby McFerrin; “Svensk Sas” is built almost entirely from head-spinning jazz-scat loops—a concept that sounds unbelievably dull in concept but proves thrilling in real-time. Meanwhile, the album’s lead single, “Delorean Dynamite,” is probably the wildest track here—a proggy voyage of shapeshifting chords and violent synth trills, topped off with a crystalline-arpeggio coda that hints at Tangerine Dream. The stranger Terje’s ideas get, the more engaging the results.

In fact, the only mild disappointments on It’s Album Time find Terje working against that very principle: “Oh Joy” spins its wheels with a straightforward piano-disco groove; “Strandbar” evokes a dreamy tropical atmosphere, but its static electronic pulses and disco rhythms feel underwhelming compared to the LP’s denser excursions.

But even Terje’s placeholders project a confident, seductive aura that comes from time—from refinement. His debut may have taken a decade to gestate, but we’ll probably still be unpacking its innovative grooves in another.

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