Toro Y Moi
Listen to Say That
The product of a move from South Carolina to Berkeley, CA and the subsequent extended separation from loved ones, Toro Y Moi’s third full-length, Anything in Return, puts Chaz Bundick right in the middle of the producer/songwriter dichotomy that his first two albums established. There’s a pervasive sense of peace with his tendency to dabble in both sides of the modern music-making spectrum, and he sounds comfortable engaging in intuitive pop production and putting forth the impression of unmediated id. The producer’s hand is prominent—not least in the sampled “yeah”s and “uh”s that give the album a hip-hop-indebted confidence—and many of the songs feature the 4/4 beats and deftly employed effects usually associated with house music. Tracks like “High Living” and “Day One” show a considerably Californian influence, their languid funk redolent of a West Coast temperament, and elsewhere—not least on lead single, “So Many Details”—the record plays with darker atmospheres than we’re used to hearing from Toro Y Moi. Sounding quite assured in what some may call this songwriter’s return to producerhood, Anything in Return is Bundick uninhibited by issues of genre, an album that feels like the artist’s essence.
Born and raised in Columbia, South Carolina, Chaz Bundick has been toying with various musical projects since early adolescence. Having spent his formative years playing in punk and indie rock acts, his protean Toro Y Moi project has been his vessel for further musical exploration since 2001. During his time spent studying graphic design at the University of South Carolina, Chaz became increasingly focused on his solo work, incorporating electronics and allowing a wider range of influences—French house, Brian Wilson’s pop, 80s R&B, and Stones Throw hip hop—to show up in his music. By the time he graduated in spring 2009, Chaz had refined his sound to something all his own, and music journals across the board touted his hazy recordings as the sound of the summer, and he released his debut album, Causers of This in early 2010.
Since then, Bundick has proven himself to be not just a prolific musician, but a diverse one as well, letting each successive release broaden the scope of the Toro Y Moi oeuvre. The funky psych-pop of 2011’s Underneath the Pine evinced an artist who could create similar atmospheres even without the aid of source material and drum machines. His Freaking Out EP, a handful of singles and remixes, and a retrospective box-set plot points all along the producer/songwriter spectrum in which he’s worked since his debut, and Anything In Return is another exciting offering that shows he’s still not ready to settle into any one genre.