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In Case You Missed It: Tor’s Way-Chill “Drum Therapy”

In Case You Missed It: Tor’s Way-Chill “Drum Therapy”

Written by Kevin Madert

It’s been a long time since I’ve come across an album as appropriately titled as Tor’s 2012 debut Drum Therapy. If Neil Peart and a few enlightened monks started a side-project, the general thrust would be pretty similar: there’s never a lack of forward-moving percussive elements, but the entire album listens like a slow stroll down a long beach. It’s this tightrope between heavy and light that Tor traverses with deftness befitting a producer albums-deep into a career, and it’s how well he pulls it off that has kept this album on heavy rotation two years down the road.

Drum Therapy makes its home amidst frequent cracklings of static and pulsating feedback. This quasi-lo-fi approach accents the dusty, meditative ambiance of the album’s ten tracks, beneath which the ever-present drum beat pounds on. While there are ethereal, affected vocals on several of the album’s tracks – the bluesy lament on “Let Me Down” is a definite standout – the percussion seems to sing most lyrically. It’s an eclectic assortment, from the taut snare hits of “Heikki” to the barely there tambourine-snap-bass pattern powering “Nomad.” Accompanied by a worldly collection of strings, synths and non-traditional instrumentation, we accelerate and decelerate through a gamut of tempos without once feeling hurried.

From the moment the lush collection of strings and rolling cymbals on album opener “Glass & Stone” give way to a broken-beat collection of tribal taps and thuds, the listener is immersed in the world Tor has constructed. It’s an environment so meticulously conceived that before you realize how many sonic miles you’ve traversed the final notes fade away and your speakers fall silent. Fortunately, you can revisit this environment at your leisure, and I’d encourage you to do so; after countless listens I’ve still yet to discover all the intricacies Drum Therapy has to offer. Give it a listen (or more) below, and grab it via the Loci Records Bandcamp here.

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