Fact Mix 888: Torus

Written by on December 19, 2022


Torus embarks on a pilgrimage through sound and harmony, a transcendent commute through ambient music for apoplectic times.

One of the most arresting moments from The Flash, the modern classic split record from Torus, the production alias of visual and sound artist Joeri Woudstra, and DJ Lostboi, an alter ego of producer and composer Malibu, appears on DJ Lostboi’s track ‘Ordinary People’. The distorted trill of a dial tone opens the track, three friendly notes chiming in quick ascension, looping briefly only to be cut short by the synthetic familiarity of Giffgaff’s answerphone automaton, at once evoking that singular loneliness experienced while waiting in vain for a voice to fill the void and the pining dislocation of long distance calls with loved ones. Lostboi’s response: a melancholy sigh. It’s a moment of both raw emotion and tongue-in-cheek melodrama, a classic move from the “world emo boss,” but it’s the emotional weight of this sequence that Torus dials in on in his recent, vertigo-inducing expansion of the track, ‘Ordinary Twilight’. Taken from the ‘Deluxe’ version of The Flash, released earlier this month, here we start with the sigh, the muffled dial tone stretched out, drifting through a low, ethereal hum, the sounds of digitally-mediated intimacy and hours spent staring at phone screens, a small, quiet moment, amplified exponentially. “When I’m looking for music I’m not only looking for songs I like, but specifically what I like about them,” he told TANK Magazine. “Often it’s just one pad or a chord progression. I think focusing on that specific detail helps me understand myself and my own music more and helps me become more puristic in developing myself sonically. Finding sounds and looking for a way to harmonise them is kind of like a pilgrimage.”

This deferential approach to sound design is something that informs all of Woudstra’s music, which sees him extracting the purest seams of emotion from the most maximalist forms of dance music, distilling intensely evocative compositions out of an omnivorous sonic palette. But it’s the smallest details that matter most, a quality Woudstra’s productions and mixes share with Malibu’s cinematic soundscapes and DJ Lostboi’s irresistibly tender ambient pop edits. In may ways, Woudstra’s Fact mix inhabits a similar space to Malibu’s stunning addition to the series from last year, each weaving together a gossamer patchwork of ’90s trance and chill out, ’00s pop and modern experimental club music with intricate threads of their own production. “This mix is the ambient counter part of my 4444 DJ mix I did for Kaltblut back in August,” explains Woudstra. “Besides the selection being an extension of the latest record on the deeper, more ambient end of my musical spectrum, I tried to reimagine highlights of this summer performing throughout Europe. Closing Laserclub Marseille during sunrise in the mountains; playing two hours of ambient at Horst Festival in Belgium; performing the new live show at Kraftwerk Berlin, performing at sunset in front of my installation at Kunstfort Vijfhuizen, playing the Razzmatazz big room at the Primavera Year0001 stage. Songs that played a significant role on stage and in between stages; such as Opinion’s ‘Transcontinental’, which I play on loop for the entire duration of recent travels. Some forthcoming tracks by myself and close music friends. I haven’t made a proper ambient mix in quite a while and I feel like I’ve been holding it in for this occasion.”

Woudstra’s pilgrimage through sound and harmony moves between these scenes with a knowing, dewy-eyed nostalgia, a personal commute back through thoughts and feelings obscured from view yet thoroughly relatable in their poignancy. Opening with the natural resonance of Rafina Port in Athens, the crackle of iPhone recorded wind buffets seamlessly into the blissed out drift of Opinion’s ‘Transcontinental’. Transplanting short sequences from tracks, like the serotonin-spiking surge of Deadmau5’s ‘Strobe,’ or the gentle ricochet of the intro to Nightlands’ ‘No Kiss For The Lonely’, Woudstra isolates moments of glancing beauty and presents them in a new, suspended context, like carving movement in marble. He pulls soft focus on swathes of crystalline synthesis and visceral gurgles in Elysia Crampton Chuquimia’s ‘The Totaled Angelic,’ as extraordinary to confronted by today as it was a decade ago, or on the distant stroboscopic loops of his own track ‘3000 Mirrors,’ the ascendent beauty of eye-lid twitching trance refracted three thousand ways. Snatches of heart-in-throat vocals from Kerry Leatham and Florence Sinclair rise to the surface before melting back below the clouds. At the beating heart of the mix Woudstra revisits one of the most beautiful accidents of recent memory, the moment when TikTok user @Maxoto_ found himself in the perfect point of superimposition of four tornado sirens phasing in perfect harmony, a celestial drone chorus heralding the onslaught of freak weather. It’s a fitting sound to signal the close of a year that has consistently unfolded with this kind of tension, caught between optimism and catastrophe, sliding uncontrollably between online and offline meaning making. Woudstra’s mix is similarly awe-inspiring, ambient music for apoplectic times.

The Flash (Deluxe) is out now. You can find Torus on Instagram.

Tracklist:

‘Rafina Port Metal Construction Sings In The Peralioi Gulf Storm’
Opinion – ‘Transcontinental’
Torus – ‘Enter The Sun Pt. 2’
Deadmau5 – ‘Strobe’
Torus – ‘Earth’ [Feat. Malibu] (Instrumental)
Malibu – ‘The Things That Fade’
E+E – ‘The Totaled Angelica’
Torus – ‘Ordinary Twilight’
@Maxoto_ – ‘Tornado Sirens Harmonising TikTok’
Tilt – ‘Invisible’ (Lost Tribe Vocal Mix)
Tom Middleton – ‘Heva’ (Ambient Mix)
Nightlands – ‘No Kiss For The Lonely’
Torus – ‘3000 Mirrors’
Lapalux – ‘Without You’ [Feat. Kerry Leatham]
José Padilla – ‘Sabor De Verano’ (The Way Out West Mix)
Evian Christ – ‘???’
Florence Sinclair – ‘Blue Velvet’

Listen next: Fact Mix 887 – Ariel Zetina





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