Tuesday, May 26

Album Review: It’s The Arps


Anneta Konstantinides / Daily Bruin

"It's the Arps"
Todd Terje
JAN. 17


Under “band interests” on his Facebook page, electronic musician Todd Terje lists “Coconuts, Hawaiian sunsets, moose/dolphin/unicorn/practically everything in a sunset.”

The combination sounds odd, yet the weird mixture perfectly embodies the influences that give Terje’s new record a sound that makes it a fun and laid-back listen.

Anyone who turns on the radio is well aware of the electronic music that is influencing modern pop artists, with its heavy dubstep beats and intense bass drops. Terje’s music, though, takes electronic music in a completely different direction. His dreamy synth-layered sound feels like the perfect background music at a beach party, especially if the beach party took place in space.

Running at a short 21 minutes, Terje’s new record is jam-packed with tracks that stretch the boundaries of what we expect electronic music to be. The first song and a standout in the disc, “Inspector Norse,” has a danceable groovy beat that is more likely to inspire listeners to sway than to bang their heads back and forth.

Over the course of six minutes, it combines the main beat with high-frequency sounds reminiscent of shooting lasers, keeping listeners guessing ““ and interested ““ even as their minds slowly melt to the music.

On the B-side, tracks “Swing Star (part 1)” and “Swing Star (part 2),” continue Terje’s unique dance vibes. The tracks flow in a way that make them easy to groove to, yet his pronounced use of synth beats and sound effects keep his sound fresh and different for the electronic music market.

“Swing Star (part 1)” feels like an extended trip through outer-space, or at least the video game version of it, with fast beats popping up in repetitive succession throughout the song. “Swing Star (part 2)” has a more pronounced club vibe, accompanied by a reappearing sound of electronic chimes, as if someone was playing the harp in an episode of “Star Wars.”

The only song that doesn’t seem to fit in Terje’s fun and relaxing album is “Myggsommer,” also on the A-side. Terje’s signature cosmic sound suddenly transforms into a hypnotic, constant beat overlapped with weird rainforest sounds that makes listeners feel as if they’re taking part in a voodoo ceremony within a horror movie . The song continues its creepy feeling with a weird cacophony of sounds that get more chaotic and out-of-place. It’s the only song on Terje’s album that doesn’t feel danceable.

The odd song out is not unusual for Terje’s style. He is known for releasing songs with a playful twist, often releasing transformed re-edits of other artists’ songs under his alter-ego “Tangoterje.” The sound of “It’s the Arps” is no different, as Terje never totally allows the listeners to space out to his sound, challenging them with a combination of beats that seem out-of-place, but surprisingly meld well together.

According to his Facebook page, Terje, hailed in his native Norway as the “cosmic disco king,” has already made fans of electronic lovers and music critics alike because of his love of taking risks with his music. He playfully asks his fans “Is it house, funk, techno or disco?” But anyone who listens to “It’s the Arps” already knows the answer ““ there’s no one genre to quite describe Terje’s crazy spaced-out beach vibe.

Email Konstantinides at [email protected]

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