One reason pop fans have cocked an ear to the dance world is because the former is now operating the way the latter always has. Singles aren’t just devices to sell albums – they’re events in and of themselves, and they increasingly appear when the artist decides. EPs are as important as attention-getting single tracks or the considered album alike.
Take Todd Terje, one of the first big Scandinavian neo-disco producers of the ’00s, who didn’t release any original work for five years, before issuing the Ragysh EP to enormous acclaim in April 2011. (The title track placed fifth on Resident Advisor’s best tracks list that year; “Snooze4love,” on the flip side, placed fourth.) A mere nine months lapsed between Ragysh and the four-song It’s the Arps, Terje’s debut on his own label, Olsen (as in Terje Olsen, his real name). But his sure-footed melodic sense and limpid sonic sensibility – “I like my music very fruity. Lots of percussion, lots of silly effects,” he once told RA – are intact. Indeed, the title clues us into the fact that every sound on It’s the Arps came from an old-fashioned ARP 2600 synthesizer.
“Inspector Norse” has some of the “Funkytown” strut of “Ragysh,” but this one glides rather than chugs. “Myggsommer” is reminiscent of the synthesized ’60s of Raymond Scott, zany but not quite tiresome. Finally there’s the two-part “Swing Star.” Part one is mostly fast synth curlicues, but part two is the EP’s milky-disco epic, as a simple-enough keyboard-bass line gradually gathers squelch and twinkle as the hi-hats tintinnabulate speedy and patient.