In April 2014, after several years of waiting, Todd Terje has finally released his first album, the aptly named “It’s Album Time”. Well, now it is all about show time, and this one comes with special care from the bearded Norwegian: a full live band, including a duet of violins, a viking drummer, a bongo player and some 20 dancers with strings of fairy lights. Wait for it. This is going to be the best thing you will see this year.
This is a live show from Todd Terje (playing with full band), recorded at Øya Festival, Oslo, Norway on August 9th 2014. This is his only performance with a full live band up to date.
RECOMMENDED LISTENING ENVIRONMENT
Since this is a live show, I suggest you not only listen to it but also watch it. Hence better sit down in your sofa at home and grab a cold beer. But be prepared, your body may want to react uncontrollably to this music, exactly like this man below (he’s my hero).
Most electronic producers play DJ sets, some others play live on their machines (like the amazing KiNK for example, Modeselektor or Laurent Garnier’s former LBS show), but few of them actually play live instruments while mixing them with machines (here I think of Disclosure, Hot Natured, Nicolas Jaar/Darkside or Caribou). That is what I like about this performance: not only is it a proper live show with musicians but also a continuous (sort of DJ) set. And that is a pretty rare thing in today’s electronic music landscape (see this article from RA for more about live shows).
After a quite extraordinary introduction (“Swing Star, Part 1”) performed on the sole Arp Odyssey synth, you will get to hear a succession of Terje’s tracks showcasing his synth skills with a good dose of added groove and funk. Wait for the synth solo of “Preben Goes To Acapulco”, around the 12-minute mark, to understand what I mean (that personally drives me crazy). Also pay attention to the transition right after this very track: the band goes drum-only for a minute or two with the two violins providing weird sound effects before the bass comes back in: it is the exact instrumental rendition of a DJ fading the two tracks together during a set, speeding up the tempo in between. Simply amazing !
From this point on, Terje keeps up the pace by playing some of his hits back to back: “Strandbar”, “Delorean Dynamite” (my favorite, watch the awesome music video-advert here), and Ragysh, which gets seriously spiced up at 35:50 when the drums come back in. After a new song not yet identified comes a little break in the set, with the on-stage peaceful performance of Brian Ferry on “Johnny and Mary”, a cover of the 1980 Robert Palmer’s song.
Terje then takes things on an weirder (but also highly enjoyable) side with “Svensk Sås” and “Alfonso Muskedunder”, two tracks taken from his album, the first one involving him singing while one of the musician plays flute and then an unsuspected saxophone part (after having played xylophone right before that) ! This really gives the impression of an orchestra: everybody is enjoying themselves, and the audience is cheering up for more.
Last part of the show is totally “Inspector Norse”-oriented with firstly the glorious and magnificent “Oh Joy” fading into the final song at 1h07′. All I can say regarding what comes next is we’ll see each other at the lighting departement of your favourite IKEA store, dancing around shelves and furnitures. Again and again.
If you like what you hear, then of course you can check the other Terje releases, which are all pretty damn good. The Ragysh EP and Eurodans EP are quite incredible, but that is nothing compared the It’s the Arps EP, that allowed the super hit Inspector Norse to surface at the end of 2011. Fantastic times were had whenever this track was to be played at any club, believe me. Also noticeable, a track with Lindstrom, Lanzarote, in 2013, followed by a few shows where the two guys played live together. Latest release of today’s champ is the LP “It’s Album Time“, already shortlisted as one of the best albums of 2014. Legit.
If that kind of scandinavian-infused nu-disco is your thing (that is my case), then you will spend your nights digging the releases of names like: Prins Thomas (and his imprint Full Pupp; also the sub-label Internasjonal), Lindstrom (and his label Smalltown Supersound; check his great album Smalhans). Along with Todd Terje, they have pretty much defined the norwegian disco scene for the past ten years. Also not to forget the quite fabulous album from Mungolian Jet Set, “Mungodelics“, a fascinating blend of disco and xylophone-from-space-like sounds.
Furthermore, I would like to give a special mention to the artwork of Terje’s releases, which expresses all the light, cheerful and mischievious sides of his music. It is done by Bendik Kaltenborn, a norwegian artist. Make sure to check the music videos of Todd Terje’s tracks, such as the crazy one for Alfonso Muskedunder (directed by Kaltenborn), the video/advert for Delorean Dynamite, or the fabulous short movie Whateverest featuring Inspector Norse as its soundtrack. Legend does not tell who inspired who first…
Hope you liked the show as much as I did !
See you soon for another post !
– Header image is taken from french magazine Tsugi website, click here to see article.