I’ve been listening to this one Todd Terje track nonstop for the past two weeks. When I walk down the street, I assume everybody else knows that I’m listening to this song because of the way I’m half dancing half walking, and because it matches almost every mood I’m ever in while walking the streets. But seriously, when was the last time you listened to a song riddled in synths that sounded this magical?
In high school (and to this day) a friend and I would always pick apart songs that had jazzy arpeggios. We’d sit in his attic bedroom and talk about songs with inadvertent arpeggios and sing along with them while using our fingers to kind of skip along with each note in the air. Coincidentally, we’re both string instrument players — he plays the cello, I play the violin. Since then, I’ve always paid attention and had a secret crush on unique chord progressions in songs. Arpeggios, key changes, slides between notes…all of that, tickles my classically trained musical brain. And I love it even more when it comes to my attention when I’m not expecting it. Aka, this song.
There’s another song like that: “Harlem” by Bill Withers. You guys know what I’m talking about. The key change that won’t stop climbing. (Do yourself a favor and actually watch that live recording, it’s soul shaking good.) Anyways, if Todd Terje can make me think of Bill Withers (and that’s not a direct comparison because lord knows the two could not be more different, musically), then I’m a happy woman. Because I love both of these music makers. In “Delorean Dynamite,” It’s not only the meticulous attention to where each note goes and what role it plays in the melody of the track, but the new elements that are introduced with each “verse.” I use quotations because there aren’t literal verses in this track, but I’d definitely argue that there are parts. The waves of an electronic story begin with a low, slowly climb to a medium, return to a low, rise to a climax, then back to a medium, and then another climax. That ultimate climax is where all of the elements introduced in each bit earlier come together, almost like the final act before the end of a play.
I’m obligated to inform you all that this is off Todd Terje’s first album ever. That’s right. Our homie has managed to create a name for himself over the course of the past ten or so years, having never released an album. The album is aptly titled, It’s Album Time. Self awareness is a hugely admirable quality in any musician, and I am truly grateful that he realized that it was, indeed, album time. This may be one of my favorite electronic records of the year. The transcendent melodic story that’s told over the course of these tracks is historical and tough to refuse. But I won’t get into the technicalities of the album — that’s for another post on another day. Today, you’re traveling through multiple galaxies in alternate universes, and this is the song that plays on your spaceship. Cheers to that.