There's Only One Decent Torii... | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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There’s Only One Decent Torii…

Meet the latest sensations to emerge from the vibrant Dutch underground

May 27, 2020 Web Exclusive
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Under the Radar has been championing the Dutch underground scene for a while now. So, it gives us great pleasure to introduce yet another new act in the shape of Torii, a five-piece hailing from the town of Leiderdorp. Situated near the city of Leiden in the Netherlands western region, Torii - named after a traditional Japanese gate most commonly found at the entrance of or within a Shinto shrine which symbolically marks the transition from the mundane to the sacred - have been creating invigoratingly experimental psychedelic pop since the early part of 2016 when debut EP Submerged landed unsuspectingly.

Originally started as a solo project by songwriter in chief Domenico Mangione, Torii’s earliest shows featured an ever-changing line up of musicians - not that dissimilar to how Amsterdam’s Personal Trainer operates today - which made them one of the most exciting propositions on the circuit. However, in order to fully realise Torii’s potential, Mangione recruited a full band - multi-instrumentalist/producer Tijmen van Wageningen, guitarist/lap steel player Willem Oostendorp, keyboardist Jilles van Kleef, and drummer Olivier Schiphorst. Each bringing their own level of dexterity and ingenuity to the process, the band went about writing and recording - mostly in an experimental fashion - culminating in this year’s debut long player Return To Form.

Initially released in the Netherlands at the end of February on revered independent label Mink Records, Return To Form should have seen the band embark on a full European tour over the coming months. Unfortunately, those plans had to be postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, two singles have already seen the light of day off the record in the shape of “Heat Lightning” and “Forward Retreat” and it’s the latter whose video we’re delighted to showcase here on Under the Radar.

Based on a concept by French artist Pauline Bauvin (who’s now based in Amsterdam) then filmed in France during the annual festival of Gayant in July 2019 by keyboard player Jilles van Kleef and Bauvin, the video for “Forward Retreat” focuses on medieval folklore. Van Kleef takes up the story.

“In Northern France and Belgium folklore, “giants” are figures representing fictional or factual characters. Originating in medieval rituals, the tradition dictates giants being carried by one or more people walking and dancing in the streets during carnivals, parades and processions. Their size varies depending on the region of origin. They usually depict archetypes of the town such as the bourgeois and the peasant or historical figures of local relevance. Each giant has its own history, they are born, they marry, they have children. The music video was filmed in Douai (a commune in Northern France) during the festival of Gayant in July 2019. The legend of Gayant (“giant” in Picard language) dates back to the 16th century. Gayant is one of the oldest giant pageants, starting in 1530 during a procession honouring Saint-Maurand, the protector of Douai. The ancestral cultural practice has been kept alive since then. Every year, for three days, the festival takes place where Gayant and his family composed of the giant’s wife Marie Cagenon and their three children, Jacquot, Fillon, and Binbin, are carried through the city.”

Mixed by Tijmen van Wageningen who also produced the track alongside Domenico Mangione, “Forward Retreat” is just one of many highlights on yet another fine debut album to grace an otherwise desolate 2020.

Speaking about Return To Form, founder member Mengione says:-

“For the majority of the band, Torii is more of a musical endeavour. The personal feelings imbued in the music are still in there, sure, but not the processing of them per se. If I want to process my emotions, the best thing for me to do is to stay in a cabin and make a Bon Iver record or something. It’s the act of making music that’s always been my source of comfort, my passion and my interest in music. And I have enjoyed that with the rest of the band. We really get the most out of that part of it together.”

So, ladies and gentlemen, here is “Forward Retreat” in all its technicolour glory.


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