Joeri Woudstra (a.k.a. Torus) is a young Dutch producer with clear intent behind his lilting, […]
Joeri Woudstra (a.k.a. Torus) is a young Dutch producer with clear intent behind his lilting, organic beats. With Feeel—which is being delivered both as an eight-song digital release (that includes two remixes) and a truncated 7″ single—he limits the sonic palette to only a few options, mostly relying on homemade percussion and field-recorded ambience to set the mood for his sedate instrumentals. In doing so, Woudstra’s restrained EP winds up sounding like the stony offspring of LA beatmaker Samiyam and Bad Vibes-era Shlohmo, though he makes less of an effort to delineate between cuts than those hazy producers. What instead emerges is a series of similarly captured moments, in the form of tracks, that often seem to successfully slow down time by virtue of their placid, unflappable direction. Without question, Woudstra’s work is intriguing; however, when the EP is viewed as a whole, the isolated moments or feelings he expresses appear somewhat less significant, mainly because of his self-imposed sonic rules.
Feeel‘s title track—the vinyl version’s a-side and a thesis statement for the digital EP, as it contains tones that are found on nearly every cut—employs home-recorded snaps, claps, and what sound like keychain jingles, all of which lazily shimmer and pop as an organ-like melody pings the main refrain alongside some synth-pad ambience. Sidechaining is also prevalent throughout the EP, and here, it’s used sparingly to add detail to the subtle bassline that resonates softly in the mix. On tracks like “Elsewhere,” “Tribes,” and “Untitled,” however, the effect is far more forceful; all three share a jarringly low bassline that buzzes at a remarkable frequency and—thanks to the sidechaining—ducks sharply for each kick-drum hit. Additionally, field recordings of birds and other natural ambience peek into Feeel on multiple occasions, starting with the rainforest intro of opener “Backyard” and continuing on with “Untitled”‘s faint bedroom feedback. As far as the remixes go, Kid Simpl takes “Untitled” in a bleaker direction, one that sounds like the entire mix is trapped at one end of an underground tunnel—the main synth line sounds especially distant and hopeless. Rawdee, on the other hand, covers “Chopsticks” in glittery synths that recall the candy-fed work of Hudson Mohawke or Lone, upping the original’s brightness and clarity while retaining its Asian-sourced tapping rhythm.
Torus’ narcotic hip-hop instrumentals are commendable for their confident poise and aesthetic consistency; in dogged pursuit of an iconic sound, though, Woudstra may have restricted his choices with an unnecessarily strong grip. As a result, Feeel presents the listener with one compelling idea from a variety of vantage points, rather than a variety of compelling ideas from one vantage point.