“It’s album time. It’s album time,” men chant in hushed tones during the intro track of Todd Terje’s first LP.
It sets the tone for what follows. The disco producer even went ahead and called the thing It’s Album Time. The album art is a bright and schmaltzy caricature of a man and several tropical drinks at a piano (perhaps a wink to one of his songs being called “background music at a beach bar” by a radio station’s music director). The message: “Let’s have some fun.” This record toes that line between madness and brilliance. Terje hasn’t gotten bogged down in trying to make Important dance music. What’s come of that is playful and different.
Often times, It’s Album Time is quite cinematic. Most of the songs might transport you to a scene in “The Bird Cage,” especially something like “Svensk Sas” or, the song that earned the beach bar accusation, “Inspector Norse.” He channels sunshine into music usually reserved for dark clubs. The only exception is “Johnny and Mary,” which might find a better cinematic home in a sad story of long-faded love. Then again, it’s still pretty upbeat.
If this is background music, it’s the most engaging background music you’ve heard. You want to be at the beach bar that’s pumping “Standbar,” with its elastic bass groove and ever-escalating synth choir. It’s as enthusiastic as it is detailed and layered. Alternative title: It’s Party Time.