Exclaim!'s Best of 2014: Top 10 Dance & Electronic

5. Todd Terje
It's Album Time
(Olsen Records)

From the artwork and title to the music, there's a sense of playfulness that inhabits It's Album Time, the debut from Norwegian DJ and producer Todd Terje (née Terje Olsen, his stage name a nod to American house pioneer Todd Terry). Just take a look at the cartoon lothario on the cover, his shirt unbuttoned, leaning on a piano surrounded by a bevy of tropical drinks. Then there's the producer's tongue-in-cheek description of infectious lead single "Inspector Norse," which first surfaced in 2012, as being "danceable elevator music."

Terje's greatest strength is his ability to not take himself too seriously while following his muses. It's Album Time is a potent batch of bossa nova, interstellar disco and lounge piano jazz, full of cheesy synths, regal arpeggios and Giorgio Moroder-style bass lines. The perfect soundtrack for a Balearic cruise or a lost '70s spy flick, the producer isn't afraid to let his music breathe, stretching the best tracks ("Delorean Dynamite," "Inspector Norse") out past the six-minute mark.

The album's only guest spot belongs to Roxy Music's Bryan Ferry, who serves as a spiritual advisor while covering Robert Palmer's ballad "Johnny and Mary," an aptly melancholy comedown to an album full of hedonistic peaks. (Max Mertens)