TORO Y MOI: “Causers of This”

TORO Y MOI: "Causers of This" (Carpark 2010)

TORO Y MOI is Chaz Bundick (LESSINS), and he’s straight Chillwave, straight Glo-fi, whatever u want to call it. It’s that.  It’s your synth heavy, cinematic dance music set to dead, lazy beats. While it’s certainly not a requirement of the genre that the music be catchy as all shit, the four big names in the arena just so happen to kill it at all times without fail. Lucky for those of us who don’t care enough about blogger-created genre names to boycott an entire genre of music. This class is filled out entirely by unique, brilliant pop musicians with professional degrees in brain-burrowing. NEON INDIAN, WASHED OUT, MEMORY TAPES and now TORO Y MOI…sooner or later someone’s got to point out that every Chillwave/Glo-fi artist is pretty rock solid right now.

Causers of This has pretty profound impact, and TORO Y MOI gets that out quick, right up front. With the record’s first track, Blessa, a sun-drenched jam, Bundick, with a GIRLS like lyrical quality, matter of factly explains what shit he’s going through and kinda, like we all should, takes it with flying colors. “I found a job, I do it fine. Not what I want, but still I try.” Something tells me we should know by now the job for which Bundick’s really best suited. The message here could be lost in the beauty of Blessa’s production, which is blissy and sunny. But it really should be noted. He’s not complaining like a punk, dissing the job, sending out a poor message. He’s acknowledging that he’s not doing what he loves, but that he still endeavors to give it his all. A lesson we could all afford to learn. And it sets a great tone for the next 30 or so minutes. We like this dude, might as well let loose.

And Bundick makes it very easy to let loose. Over the course of the record, TORO Y MOI takes us on a trip through musical influence, making stops at, to name a few, JAMIROQUAI, MAX TUNDRA and THE SOFT PINK TRUTH.  Lissoms, the record’s 4th track, encompasses all of them in an odd blend. Though this is a much more accessible, catchy medium.  The focus of this album is the party. For a little over 30 minutes TORO Y MOI blends dead beats with sun kissed haze, spindly twinkles with choppy glitches, which as you would totally expect is really very great. There’s a lot of 70s slow jam work going on here. The guitar riff on You Hid, for instance. Some older dudes would def find that sexually nostalgic.

By the second song, Minors, another TORO track that will end near the top of 2010 (w/ Blessa), Bundick finds himself getting a little more dramatic, a little more introspective. “Is this how we live, for someone to be with, obsessed with ideas?” This song opens with such a thick, dense and heavy wall of gorgeous that you almost have to start it over after the first 24 seconds to see if that really happened. Yeah, it did. Just like that other Southern boy Ernest Greene did last year with Feel it All Around as WASHED OUT, TORO Y MOI demonstrates an ability to completely take you away within a few seconds. This is songwriting at its best and is suggestive of the breadth of this kid’s capabilities, which seem vast.

The whole album is great. Put it in, press play, throw a party. Causers of This, the title track, should be MAX TUNDRA’s favorite song of the year. And Freak Love sounds like being on a sailboat with the one you love on a sunny day, floating on a sea of microchips. The feel of this record is fittingly exemplified on Low Shoulder, a synth heavy, key board heavy, beat heavy, just fully filled out cool as all hell dance track. Such a fun feel. Go get the album, invite some friends over, invite that girl you like, lower that shoulder and get at it. Best dance record of 2010 for now. Hard to envision someone topping it.

by: Brad Horenstein

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