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White Noise: Todd Terje - Strandbar

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Todd Terje - Strandbar

Label: Olsen

Todd Terje first set out to take over the summer with 2011’s superb Ragysh EP on Running Back, which spawned two ace club tracks and a blissed-out afterhours burner. A year on he did it again with the It’s The Arps EP, whose Inspector Norse was one of the year’s most ubiquitous tunes thanks to its sense of cosmic euphoria and that irresistible groove. An expert synth-tweaker with an unashamed love of the cheesier sides of disco, Terje now looks to dominate our summers for a third year running with Strandbar.

For those interested, the title means ‘beach bar’ in Norwegian, an ironic retaliation to a certain Norwegian radio station which described Inspector Norse as best suited as background music for seaside drinking. While an obvious understatement for a track which was executed with a mastery which demands it stay in the foreground, with Strandbar Terje steps ever closer to the dangerous line between ecstasy and cheese. While undeniably enjoyable tracks, these Latin-influenced disco workouts rely on some familiar ploys which might for some be a step too far.

The title track comes in three distinct flavours. First is Strandbar (Samba Version), where a bed of shuffling percussion and loose synthlines give way to a piano line which perhaps feels a little toothless compared to the tougher edge anchoring Terje’s more recent productions. The Disko Version does a much better job with the formula. The intergalactic synthwork that marked Inspector Norse’s climax are re-appropriated here with a solid bassline groove and a sharper incorporation of the piano riff. Finally the Bonus Version harks back to the bonus beats of early house tracks, offering a stripped set of the title’s percussive track that could come of use as a DJ tool.

While nothing here is as impressive as the material on Terje’s last two solo releases, Strandbar remains a strong tune that’s sure to receive heavy play over the summer. When the choice is between lamenting the lack of edge on these tunes or sitting back and enjoying the perfectly-crafted sun-streaked groove, it’s safe to say that most will opt for the latter.


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