Since they joined the Epidemic Sound roster, LA-based electronic artist Torii Wolf has been putting out music nonstop, releasing two albums in 2021 alone. Below the Mouth might be their most poised project to date, ensuring their output is still quality over quantity. More than any other album or EP, the tracks take trip-hop elements into new avenues, to the point where the genre sounds as if it picked up steam during the rise of SoundCloud trap in the late 2010s. And without fail, Wolf emerges from the cybernetic clashing mellow musical ripples to reinvent themselves into something new after making music for around 15 years.
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Wolf themself hold their own against the cybernetic-sounding production without completely taking the spotlight. Their hushed, raspy voice stands out on “Devil Disguised,” an appropriately positioned opener that slowly but gradually expands the beat. The overall song resembles elevator music, but whether or not the elevator is going up or down slowly reveals as the project becomes more complex.
But for Wolf’s most impressive vocal deliveries, look no further than the latter half of the album. “Undertaker” finds them in their element, not holding back or opting for a mellow ambiance like previous tracks. Yet while the former disperses passion with its electronic pulsing heart and Wolf’s reverberating vocals, “So Hollow” brings all those elements together like no other song. Speaking as a hopeless romantic for hollow romances, Wolf is no longer hushing over the track, howling out on the most impressive song vocally. On top of that, the unique drum pattern and 80s-inspired synthesizers give the song enough glam to serve as one of the album’s standout tracks.
The title track, “Below the Mouth,” is the most definitive in terms of what the project aims to achieve as a whole. The echoed drums and oddly subtle trap beat go well together as opposing forces when Wolf stands in between, webbing the two contradictions from sounding haphazard. Because even at the project’s most drastic, Wolf is a constant that brings everything together. This most likely has to do with their experience as a guitarist, drummer, and independent artist working on their own, garnering a fanbase without little outside help. Even when working alongside Epidemic Sound, you can tell the label only gives itself to Wolf as their personal laboratory, where they can keep making music evolving from its original form.
Words: David Sosa
Below the Mouth by Torii Wolf is out on all streaming services. For more info on Wolf and their future plans, be sure to check them out on Instagram and Twitter.