Torres – “Wandering Star” (Portishead Cover)

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Recording under the name Torres, Mackenzie Scott makes stark, intense music that’s only grown more stark and more intense in recent years. A couple of months ago, she released the new album Silver Tongue. And today, she’s paid tribute to Portishead, who know a couple of things about stark intensity.

Today, Torres has dropped a cover of “Wandering Star,” one of the highlights from Portishead’s classic 1994 debut Dummy. “Wandering Star” is a track built on miles-deep drones, itchy DJ scratches, spy-movie guitars, and Beth Gibbons’ lost, tremulous alone-in-the-world quaver of a voice. Three 6 Mafia sampled it on “Fuck That Shit” in 2003. All of which is to say: “Wandering Star” slaps.

In her version, Torres recreates that “Wandering Star” groove with what appears to be live instruments. Her voice approaches Gibbons’ heart-wrecked delivery, and she supplants the DJ scratches of the original with trebly guitar notes. It’s a very cool version, and you can hear it and the Portishead original below.

Torres’ Silver Tongue is out now on Merge. You can buy her “Wandering Star” cover at Bandcamp.

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