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Funky & Fun
on 7 April 2014
After releasing a series of dance floor dominating singles over the past few years, Todd Terje tries his hand at the long playing format, and the results are pretty successful. Whilst avoiding the traps and pitfalls of just producing a mere collection of singles, or worse still, padding out the hits with similar but less inspired filler, Terje does a Daft Punk and delves into dance musics 70's roots with a selection of retro tracks that just about evade the 'derivative' label.
As you'd expect there is a heavy disco influence (in the more European, heavily electronic Giorgio Moroder/Patrick Cowley/Koto vein rather than the live band, syncopated Nile Rodgers style), but on top of that there's tracks that are pure Herbie Hancock style jazz funk, spaced out lounge/easy listening reminiscent of Herb Alpert or Henry Mancini, some esoteric stuff that sounds like it could have been included in the Katamari Damacy soundtrack, like lost gems from the golden age of library music.
However, all this retro referencing and nods to musical influences is all well and good but the main thing here is that this record is just fun. It's good lighthearted catchy pop music and upbeat dance music. The only real exception is the the Robert Palmer cover with Bryan Ferry's vocals which is like an emotive centre amid all the campy spacesynth and Eurodisco. There are even a couple of mini song suites which does sound quite proggy on paper, but Terje completely sidesteps the chin stroking in favour of foot tapping. Plus the album closes with 'Inspector Norse', which is nice.
The album definitely isn't going to win any awards for innovation, with most of it sounding like it was streamed directly from the 70's and 80's, but it's an excellent soundtrack to the summer months, and compared to some other recent big name dance producers album efforts (say, Tensnake) it is pure class.
Update: October 2014: I'm boosting the rating from 4 to 5 stars. I was a bit stingy because it was so retro and it wore it's influences on it's sleeve so brazenly but it's just so joyous and irrepressibly sunny that it's not merely a good record it's a great one.