Electronica has become a genre based on craft, production and composition. With the release of his sophomore album, Blue Book, Vancouver-based experimental producer Tor has become one of the artists to fully encompass these characteristics and create something that is far beyond beats and synths.
“I’ve been working on Blue Book over the past two and a half years,” he says of the making of the album. “I wanted to get outside my comfort zone and try new sounds and I learned a lot about my creative process along the way. It’s definitely a snapshot of who I was while making it and I think you can hear that changing as the album plays through.”
Described as “a natural evolution of the best qualities of his previous work, while pushing his sound forward with new sonic palettes, ideas and tempos,” Blue Book acts as the soundtrack of Tor’s mind. A plethora of musical elements masterfully weave in and out of each track, creating a series of songs that evoke emotion and peacefulness.
Tracks like “Cymbol” truly exude a tranquility that is simply serene to hear.
The song opens up with the sound of wind chimes and flows right into a hazy synth beat paired with the hard noise of a drum stick being hit against some kind of metal object. That’s the thing with most of the tracks on this album — they make you sit down and think about each and every part of them, like trying to figure out what kind of instrument or object is making each specific noise.
The album’s smoothness is also quite notable. I almost didn’t notice where “Intro” stopped and “Two Suns,” the album’s second track, begun. They flowed so well into each other that I thought they were one. “Two Suns” incorporates some extremely tranquil Middle Eastern sounds, adding to the serenity of the track.
Songs like “Days Gone” and “Aeris” lean more toward the popular EDM sounds, including a more mellowed-down version of synth beats and snares.
The thing that set these songs apart, though, is the fact that they use the synthesized vocals as another element to the song instead of just highlighting them — there’s not necessarily a chorus or verse. Instead, Tor uses the vocals in an innovative way, using them as another synth instrument.
The entire album is definitely not a dance album, but rather something to sit back and relax to. It’s unlike your typical electronica because it incorporates unconventional elements and sounds, such as the sitar and string instruments — even some weird noises that I still can’t identify — to create one harmonious collection of tracks.
You can tell that Tor is a well-versed producer because all of the songs on this album are masterfully crafted. They each sound like they have a plan, or an intentionally put-together layout that he has thought about long and hard.
Tor’s Blue Book is one to grab the attention of an array of audience members, mesmerizing their ears with his beautifully crafted sounds.