In the electronic music world, there is hardly a term more amorphous than “beat,” having evolved over the years to apply to virtually every corner of the computer music spectrum. On Tornes Beats Vol. 2, the second beat tape in two years from Norway’s Torkelsen, the budding producer uses this freedom to his advantage, stringing together ten slices of pop-tinged boom-bap that graciously jump between mood, tempo, and sound palette.
Torkelsen’s status as a self-described “crate digger” (that is, one who constantly visits record stores in search of forgotten vinyl), serves as the glue which holds this record together — his proclivity for pastiching samples and textures no doubt inspired by the masters of instrumental hip-hop, particularly DJ Shadow and the late J Dilla. Still, this is just the bed from which the beatsmith crafts his productions, layering an array of swirling keys, poignant melodies, and bit-crushed rhythms atop the collaged base. Songs like “Travels” and “Borgepunk” feature jazzy samples and familiar breaks, and reveal Torkelsen’s hip-hop roots. At the other end of the spectrum, tracks such as “Fabrikkbass” and “Oktober G” take their cues from LA-style G-funk.
The rest of the offerings are pleasantly more difficult to pin down, at any moment incorporating glitches, chops, and off-kilter rolls among the synth-guided, bass-loaded excursions. As the closing “All the Good Times” dips into melodic contemplation, Torkelsen’s underlying goal is still in sight — to insert ever more shimmering possibilities between each kick and snare. (Sellout! Music)