For a music journalist, favorites can be fleeting. You hear so much new music on a regular basis that you become a sort of vampire, sucking the joy out of artists you like in a matter of days, moving on to the next victim, then the next. In that context, Torky Tork is the victim I keep chained up in the attic and feed off of regularly for a prolonged period. Ever since I heard his album Syria, a sample-intensive aural journey through the streets of an ageless Damascus, I have been hooked. His work is impeccably crafted, thematic, moody, catchy, and the majority of voice samples are in his native German, giving it the distinct local flavor of one of the world’s most vibrant beat scenes.
Each of Tork’s albums follows a different theme, and any sort of “standard format” goes completely out the window. The focus is raw, organic beats and movement from track to track. Similar to …..Endtroducing and Sixtoo’s Duration, a Tork album moves cinematically, invoking varying imagery and emotion every minute or two. The difference is that you may have heard of Shadow or even Sixtoo, but Tork is still mysterious.
I don’t claim to share the tastes of mainstream music consumers, but if the world had any sense at all, Torky Tork would be bumping in coffee shops and hookah lounges across the world, and I still have hope that one day he will be. In the meantime, I’ll treat it like a real beathead would and enjoy the fact that this is guy is a gem I get to share with people and watch their expressions as they digest how dope it is.
Before we get down to business, here’s what else you need to hear from Torky Tork. Asterix Erobert, named for the titular character of the Asterix books, is a collaboration with producer Anatol Atonal. Black is an excursion into German jazz that, believe me, you have not heard anything like. And finally Sextape is themed around… um, coin collecting. They’re all amazing, and they are all absolutely free.
Now… this week’s LAYERS is Torky Tork’s remix of a track by German MC Haftbefehl for the remix project The Notorious H.A.F.T. As far as Tork beats go, this one’s a more conventional hip-hop beat in terms of format, but it’s a great way to showcase his nasty production style in a familiar way. Without further ado, let’s dive into Torky Tork’s remix of “Dunkle Träume.”
Marie Laforet (cheap ass two-disc best-of)—I always pick up French chanson records once I make sure that there are multiple instruments involved and not just an acoustic guitar. For me, some of the most epic sample finds are located right at the end of songs. No chops, just a loop.
Wolfgang Asam (guitar sample) and a Günther Fischer soundtrack (hook)—The West-German chansons-writer vs. the East-German uber-producer. The title “Dunkle Träume” means “Dark Dreams,” so I wanted to find something that would fit the restless ghettoish vibes of Haftbefehl’s lyrics and I stumbled across a soundtrack by Günther Fischer. The woman sings, “Wine on my tongue, smoke in my lungs, hot and cold forehead.” Back in the 90s, the singer Manfred Krug accused Günther Fischer of spying on him for the Stasi.
Bass drum and Sub
I need my bass drums loud. The bass drum has to be louder than the snare. A little sub for the trunk. That’s it.
Snare and Clap
I know people who believe that the snare is the most important part when it comes to beat making, and they will probably be able to tell you where I found this snare too. I don’t even have a clue. I like the clap though. Sometimes a certain pattern can become a signature sound for a song. Snoop Dogg’s “Drop It Like It’s Hot” is one such example.
This is the icing on the cake. The whole drive of the beat derives from these little shuffles and hits.
The car sound in the beginning fits to the lyrics when he starts to rhyme,“The cops pull me over,” and the sound of thunder and rain is something I found on a Jonesmann record. For those who don’t know, Jonesmann was singing the hook in the original version. I had to cut him out, because I wanted to use the vocal sample for the hook. Much respect to Jonesmann though!
Put it all together and here’s what you get. Haftbefehl’s “Dunkle Träume” featuring Chaker, remixed by the one and only Torky Tork for the The Notorious H.A.F.T..