Todd Terje: It’s Album Time

So, this is going to be an interesting one.

Again I won’t pretend I know more than I do. Scandinavian producer chap release well reviewed singles, gets criticised for sounding like elevator music and then drops ‘Johnny and Mary’ cover with Bryan Ferry and everyone starts paying attention.

If truth be told, if it wasn’t for that cover then we probably wouldn’t be here with this as album of the month. If you’re expecting 10 tracks out of the Johnny and Mary mould then you may be disappointed. What you do get is a relatively odd mix of tracks, all instrumental other than the cover. Some stand by themselves as tracks but all do meld together as an album.

If you can approach this as a complete work rather than singles & album tracks then I think it hangs together well. It makes me smile. It ticks all the boxes in terms of being playable whenever (work, evening, in the car, Silvia likes to dance to it). I’d say get right in and spend some time with it. It does give a lot back.

13 comments

  1. misterstory

    PS – Points for discussion:

    1) Is it all over the shop or is intertwined with a common feel throughout?
    2) Do the less conventional tracks overcome the tag of ‘novelty’?
    3) Can you deny that this makes you feel happy?

  2. whyohwhyohwhy

    I love Terje, and I know quite a few of the tracks on here already. In fact I’ve not been a massive fan initially of the Bryan Ferry track, but it’s grown on me. I think it does have a thread to it (from 2 listens) and he’s a supremely talented producer, so I can’t wait to really get my teeth into this.

  3. whyohwhyohwhy

    Oh, and in answer to your questions:

    1) A bit of both, if that’s not daft.
    2) Yes, I think they all work for me, even the opener, which is almost ridiculous but actually ace.
    3) It makes me want to go and get drunk on an island.

    • whyohwhyohwhy

      This is everything I expected it to be. Every track is great, such fantastic production, and the more I listen the more it hangs together as an album, which isn’t always the case for electronic stuff. He’s one of my favourite producers of the last few years, and this proves he’s more than just a big tune writer.

      Seriously awesome stuff. I played Delorean Dynamite on the radio last night, it’s a banger!

      • misterstory

        Yep. I am really enjoying it too. At first I didn’t think that the track sequencing was right but even that seems to be spot on now. Brother Nolan, what are your thoughts?

  4. David Allison

    I think this is nothing short of fantastic. Despite it being a mix of new and older tracks (e.g. Inspector Norse), it works so well and flows beautifully. It’s always great when dance musicians aspire to realising the ALBUM format properly and so few pull it off. It’s such a great companion piece to the very wonderful Daft Punk album of last year – both have widescreen ambition and a lightness of touch that’s so infectious.

    I’ve been a Todd fan for a while and have loved that whole disco-influenced Scandi thing that’s been going on. Indeed, I used Todd’s Eurodans on a mix I made about 3 years ago – https://soundcloud.com/garedunord/mercury-venus-disco-mars – that explored some of the Euro and Scandi disco sounds. But I always a little bit trepidatious as to whether a whole album would really work. His fellow Scandi disco loon, Lindstrom, has made a few full length efforts and though I’ve liked them, they’ve never really sustained as albums – I’ve just ended up listening to a few tracks now and again.

    This feels different. I’ve listened to it from start to finish quite a few times and it demands your full attention. It’s so hard to make dance music sound this effortless and with such a sense of space. It’s so easy to spend time with and I can imagine playing it all summer. As for the cheesy/not cheesy angle, I think he pulls it off with aplomb. Again, like Daft Punk, he reimagines sounds which you have a whiff of naff about them, but they come up feeling sparkly new and genuine in this context. Probably my favourite album of the month since Chvrches!

    Finally, what a fascinating comparison there is to be made between Todd T’s album and Space Dimension Controller. Why does one work for me and not the other? I think that it’s like any creative endeavour – you have to sense that it’s saying something, that it’s creating a world that you ‘get’. Todd’s got a sound, got an angle and he pulls the whole thing together. The Brian Ferry track is a genius piece of leftfield thinking and it gives the album a bit more depth, but it doesn’t stand out like a sore thumb. SDC – is just ALL over the place, and apart from wearing you out with its length, you just don’t really know what he’s trying to say or do. He’s throwing so many ideas in your face, but you’re desperate for him to just pick one and run with it. It’s the same with writing, or art or anything. You need a vision. Todd’s vision involves a blue dinner jacket, a cocktail and some louche disco-house. I’m in!

  5. nolankane706

    Brother David has hit the nail on the head with the question between this and Space Dimension Controller. Why does one work for me and not the other? I have been mulling over this massively over the last few weeks as I have got stuck into the Terje album. The only conclusion I can come up with is perhaps experience and patience. Terje has been working on this album for about 4 years now and has been honing it on the dance floors around the world to make sure the tracks are right…. good things come to those that wait!

    I think that we all need to put our hands up to a blatant fact here… we were all going to be biased when approaching this album. We all like him and were looking forward to this album. This for me gave him a bit more time for me to get my head around the entire album.

    For someone fresh to Terje I think it’s fair to say that they may find it a bit out there on the first listen….. but only on the first. I found this album to quickly grow on me. It’s easy to listen to, versitile and great for the car.

    Heading into the summer months (as i type it’s chucking it down outside) I can see this being a big part of my summer.

  6. misterstory

    I guess Im the only one who had no knowledge of TT previously then! Oh well. I’m loosing my edge, I am, loosing my edge, to the kids … etc

    By the way, the original Robert Palmer Johnny and Mary is well worth a listen;

  7. whyohwhyohwhy

    David, I bow to your words there. Hit the nail on the head too. I do love the SDC album, but this is really almost perfection. Terje’s released so many records I love that this could’ve been a bit of a letdown with some filler tracks or just a load of bangers, but it was neither of them and is pretty seamless. His experience and skill in the studio is writ right across the album, in the way that the wayward and developing genius of SDC isn’t, but then that’s a 21 year old v a 30-something that’s been making records for 10 years.

    This will likely be in my top ten of the year, and it’s only May.

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