Available on: Olsen EP
For the latter half of the last decade, Norwegian producer, DJ, and self-proclaimed “Remaster of the Universe” Todd Terje has become well known on dancefloors for his oddball re-edits, layered cosmic rhythms, and modern day takes on classic house and disco. But it wasn’t until last Spring that he took his signature starry-eyed sounds firmly into third gear with ‘Ragysh’, one of the year’s most acclaimed dancefloor singles.
Nine months later, he returns with It’s the Arps, a four-track EP and the first release on Terje’s new label Olsen, a sub-label of Smalltown Supersound. Showcasing Terje’s pervasive humor and playfulness, the album title is both a tribute to Monty Python’s Flying Circus segment “It’s The Arts” and the fact that the songs themselves were entirely composed and recorded on the ARP2600 analog synthesizer. Manufactured between 1971 and 1981, the synth was used in a number of songs from Bowie’s Berlin era, during Stevie Wonder’s electronic peak, and as the voice of R2-D2 in the Star Wars movies. Oh, and in keeping with the EP’s playful side, its opening track is titled ‘Inspector Norse’.
Upbeat and playful, ‘Norse’ is perfectly fun if a little repetitive; because of its hypnotic nature, it’s far more appropriate for dancefloors than headphones. It’s on ‘Swing Star Pt. 1’, however, that the EP starts to click. A departure from Terje’s usual soaring sound, its anxious, almost speeded-out Tangerine Dream-style rhythm feels like it’s constantly rushing; desperate to tie up loose ends before reaching a set finishing line. And as if he’s relieved to have succeeded, Terje brings things home with ‘Pt. 2’, a shimmering piece of disco with a heavy bassline reminiscent of Chic’s Bernard Edwards. Rather than limiting this EP’s scope, restricting it to the use of only one synthesizer allows Terje’s innate quirkiness and sense of humour even more room to maneuver.