- The remix is by no means a particularly modern phenomenon. In fact its roots can be traced all the way back to the Baroque era in which the great J.S. Bach offered listeners arguably the most bumper remix package of all time with his Goldberg Variations—30 different mash-ups of a repeated 16-bar chord progression. One shudders to think of the pressing costs had Bach been around during the vinyl heyday when disco pioneers Tom Moulton and Walter Gibbons were busy cutting tape and looping beats in order to create the "dance remix" as we know it today. Those early efforts of the late 1970s were intended simply as a way of extending popular tracks by honing in on more hypnotic rhythm sections (or "the breakdown," as that practice would eventually become known) to feed the insatiably heady appetite of New York's burgeoning club scene. In the 30 years that have followed, the discipline of the remix has evolved into a broad school where artists are invited freely to reinterpret the work of others, often laying the cornerstone of a record's success; and in 2010, if ever there were a pretender to the throne of Remaster of the Universe, Todd Terje would most certainly stake a claim.
Alongside compatriots Prins Thomas and Hans-Peter Lindstrom, he has spearheaded the Norwegian-nuanced disco sound (dub-pop, nu-Balearic, cosmic-Kraut—whatever you want to call it) that proved so popular towards the end of the last decade; yet the versatility and repeated success of his remix output alone evince that, as the brouhaha surrounding that particular scene begins to wane, Todd Terje looks set to maintain his ubiquity. Though if the press-release is to be believed, it won't be as a remixer: this compilation-cum-retrospective of his work, released by Permanent Vacation (who else?), supposedly marks "the end of the easy days of remixing, now Terje is gonna heal the world with proper self-composed music!"
If healing the world is indeed Terje's raison d'etre, he has certainly been making a fairly decent stab at it so far, as illustrated by the impressive CV that forms the basis of this two-disc compilation. Remixes for Jose Gonzalez, Antena and the now almost-canonical rework of Dolle Jolle's "Balearic Incarnation" have provided some of dance music's most blissed-out, loved-up moments in recent years, and are frankly so well known by now that any further discussion of their musical merit here seems like a waste of time. It's space, it's beach, it's cosmic, man. But moreover, it's good.
Resisting the temptation to rest entirely on his laurels, Terje manages to pack enough unheard curios into disc one's continuous mix to keep interest levels sufficiently buoyed. A cheeky cover of Ace of Base's trashy classic "All That She Wants" and a barbershop/swing-band version of his own anthem "Eurodans" are cute additions to a set which offers several alternative reworkings of the remixes we all know and love. This fondness for tailoring tracks not necessarily for release, but rather for playing purposes is a signature of the Norwegian's—his Tangoterje re-edits of acts as diverse as Wham! Chris Rea and Guns 'n' Roses, for instance, have earned him enviable notoriety—and this mix provides a decent account of Todd Terje, the DJ.
The nine stand-alone tracks, however, featured on disc two are arguably his finest efforts: the aforementioned "Balearic Incarnation," last year's crack shot at Shit Robot's "Simple Things" and his seemingly evergreen, pumped-up version of Lindstrom's "Another Station" are undoubtedly the highlights. An unreleased rework of a forthcoming Mungolian Jet Set track also keeps the carrot dangled in typically madcap fashion and shows why many an artist will be sad to learn that Terje has, at least for now, decided to hang up his remix boots.
Much as the suggestibly fickle and rapidly transient taste of the dance music world is to be decried, one cannot help but feel that the space-cadet sound from the North is past its peak and as such this compilation can at times feel like treading already well-trodden ground. Though these feelings can be readily countered with the assured knowledge that, of everything the Balearic breeze washed up on our shores over the last few years, Todd Terje's oeuvre is among (if not) the very best, and I can take as much pleasure counting this record as part of my collection as I can looking forward to the fulfilment of that press-release promise.
01. Reverso 68 - Piece Together (Todd Terje Remix #2)
02. M - Pop Muzik (Todd Terje Remix)
03. Chuck Norris - All That She Wants
04. Simon Baker - Plastik (Todd Terje Turkatech Remix)
05. Chaz Jankel - Glad To Know You (Todd Terje Edit)
06. Duliatten Disco Dandia - Surat Surfin
07. Jose Gonzalez - Killing For Love (Todd Terje Acoustic Remix)
08. Felix Laband - Whistling in Tongues (Todd Terje Remix #2)
09. Percussion Break / Shit Robot - Simple Things (Work It Out)(Todd Terje Remix #2)
10. Mungolian Jetset - Moon Jocks n Prog Rocks (Todd Terje's Schlong Tong Vocal Version)
11. Fox N'Wolf - Claws Against Knives (Todd Terje Night Version)
12. Dolle Jolle- Balearic Incarnation (Todd Terje Variation)
13. Gichy Dan - On A Day Like This (Todd Terje Edit)
14. Rogue Cat - Magic Journey (Todd Terje Remix #2)
15. Kacic Kullmann's Five - Terjelator
16. New Mjondalen Disco Swingers - Eurodans
01. Antena - Camino Del Sol (Todd Terje Remix)
02. Jose Gonzalez - Killing For Love (Todd Terje Brokeback Mix)
03. Dolle Jolle - Balearic Incarnation (Todd Terje's Extra Dolle Mix)
04. M - Pop Muzik (Todd Terje Remix)
05. Lindstrom - Another Station (Todd Terje Remix)
06. Studio - Life's a Beach! (Todd Terje Beach House Mix)
07. Shit Robot - Simple Things (Todd Terje Version)
08. Mungolian Jetset - Moon Jocks n Prog Rocks (Todd Terje's Even Stiv-En Dub Version)
09. Rogue Cat - Magic Journey (Todd Terje Remix)