I’ve always been a sucker for a good arpeggiated synth, it just makes my heart soar. So when Todd Terje dropped his most recent EP “it’s the Arps”, a 5 track EP on Norway’s excellent Smalltown Supersound, I knew it was going to be right up my street.
It has been getting a lot of good coverage at the moment and this is mainly down to the wittily titled “Inspector Norse”. A space disco work out with a mesmeric melody line. The thing is it’s the easy option on a very good EP. It’s dance floor friendly, catchy in melody and lasts just about the right length for people not to get bored with it. In fact it’s exactly the reason I bought the EP myself. But after a few listens it was the soundtrack sounding Swing Star in all its versions that became the stand out track(s) for me. It’s an easy track to ignore, the opening bars are fast and, while Terje doesn’t really do furious, not that easy to first listen to. If you’re not in the mood it’s easy to skip past never to revisit it, but stick with it and I assure you, you’ll be drifting deep in space very quickly.
The EP is typical of a lot of Terje’s output, utilising the CR-78 drum machine to its fullest, lots of melody and disco B-lines, and Star Swing brings this home. Utilising the same sound sets and drums noise over the course of three tracks that all interlink via elements that drift up and over each other. A melodic concept or pad line that started in part one and concludes in part 2, via way of parts 1+2. All together they easily break the 15 minute mark, but you wouldn’t notice, and I’ve found it really hard to not keep going back to it. Even sat here now the main hooks and bass lines are running through my head some 4 hours after last listening to it.
Part one is all double time arp's – both lead and bass line – over a faster than usual beat. Part two is a bit more steady, midtempo beat with cords and arp and a synth bass line that has a fantastic switch up midway through – it's very familiar, owing much of it's structure to Chic's "I want your Love"; and you have to wonder if Terje is making a sly nod to his past.
My only real gripe with Terjes Swing Star concept is that he didn’t explore it further, I’d have liked to have seen it taken to a mini-album. The tracks concept have easily got a good 30 minutes or so in them and he’s certainly got the talent to make it work. In fact I’d love it to go one further than that and see it tied to a short film, I’m adamant there is a far bigger concept within these tracks just waiting to be brought out.
I picked it up on eMusic for not that much, but you can grab it from Juno or Beatport as well so there are no excuses for not getting it.
*photo from Smalltown Supersounds
Playlist: Wednesday February 1st 2012
It’s bitterly cold in Paris right now, so it’s wrap up warm and walk as quick as possible. As with this kind of cold the sky is crystal clear and the day is glorious. I’m also late in so it was a nice easy paced journey in. As I leave the house I opt for some space disco with Todd Terje’s It’s the Arps EP, I let it run it’s natural course, starting with Inspector Norse, followed by Mydsommer then Swing Star 1, Swing star 1+2 and finally Swing star 3. As I rewind it a couple of times this takes up the majority of the trip in, but as I’m leaving the metro I’m in the mood for some vocals and scanning through my player I decide to listen to the Tensnake remix of Friendly Fires – Hurting – a really, really good remix right up there with the Aeroplane remix of Skeleton Boy from a few years ago.
Playlist: Todd Terje – Inspector Norse, Todd Terje – Swing Star part 1, Todd Terje – Swing Star part 1+2, Todd Terje – Swing Star part 2, Friendly Fires – Hurting (Tensnake Remix)