It's The Arps by Todd Terje

11 November 2018

It’s The Arps

“Inspector Norse”
Starting off with what sounds like a radio transmission, the bouncy beat begins immediately afterwards, transcending the usual slow build up of the “good parts”. Instead elements, equally intriguing and upbeat, are gradually added on, built up, and then removed. But this removal is not the more common letdown – instead, it makes perfect sense, because it times the drops and adds perfectly. For example, near the middle of the song, it adds more elements than anywhere else in the song, making it vaguely stressful (not that this song is stressful in the slightest – it’s one of the most optimistic I’ve ever heard), but then at the apex of this, it pops. Popping is a better analogy than exploding because explosions are violent, sudden, and often exciting after the explosion, but pops are expected, cheerful and amusing, just like “Inspector Norse.” Rather than try to avoid or straddle the line between cheesiness and class, like some other artists do to varying effect, this song goes straight into the cheese, and fares all the better for it, somehow being so honest and non-ironic that it becomes less obnoxious. The perfect song to cheer yourself up, it outshines the other songs by a mile, partially because it never really fades away from this beautifully genuine happiness.

“Myggsommer”
Much differently from the other three songs on this EP, “Myggsommer” doesn’t have a particularly recognizable beat, but even though you won’t probably be bobbing your head, you will be appreciating the unexpectedly pleasant combination of otherwise unpleasant sounds. Not as interesting as the other tracks provided, but perhaps this is for the best, as it provides a contrast almost necessary to appreciate how well-made the other ones are. And of course, being the worst song on “It’s The Arps” isn’t saying much.

“Swing Star, Pt. 1”
“…Pt. 1” is, unlike “Inspector Norse” and possibly “…Pt. 2,” not a very good standalone song. However, it is one of the best build-ups to a song ever made. You’ll be bobbing your head before you even get to the more opaque bass of “…Pt. 2,” and it is an essential companion piece to the latter. Listen to these two songs together or not at all.

“Swing Star, Pt. 2”
Jumping straight into the missing beat of “…Pt. 1,” “…Pt. 2” is the only song that really compares to “Inspector Norse” in pure head-bobbing bass. Yet, by the end, it travels back to the beginning, becoming yet again fading and looking in on itself and the subtle crescendos fading throughout the entirety of the second part. Best enjoyed as part of a whole with “…Pt. 1.”

As a whole, “It’s The Arps” does beautifully. It does seem that the other tracks are merely companion pieces to “Inspector Norse,” but if they are companion pieces than they are the best companion pieces that could have been made, and, under any other artist, would likely have been regarded as excellent songs. Remaining upbeat and positive without becoming overwhelming, perfectly timed at a mere 21 minutes, the EP will likely not be forgotten, especially the bubbly catchiness of “Norse.” “Myggsommer” is the only song that doesn’t work well on it’s own, but it remains interesting musically and works well in this context. “Swing Star” (parts 1 and 2) is a fantastic 11-minute of epic proportions, that never really goes over-the-top like many other progressive rock tracks of similar length. Together, these all piece together perfectly into an excellent example of a talent that remains the artist’s best work.

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