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Toro Y Moi is no bull

See the High Note with Shaun Smith every Saturday on www.shorenewstoday.com. See the High Note with Shaun Smith every Saturday on www.shorenewstoday.com.

The hypnotic beats of Toro Y Moi develop like a Polaroid photograph. First there is a burst of energy that kicks the mechanisms into motion. Then, the product unfurls methodically and with a little patience the image becomes clear.

Chazwick Bundick, better known by his stage name Toro Y Moi, creates hypnotic techno-pop beats that are built for a modern generation of music fans. "Anything in Return," released Jan. 21 by Carpark Records, is a melodic journey that captures the circuitry transferring musical energy inside Budick's head.

“Anything in Return” is the third release on Carpark Records since 2010 by the 26-year-old South Carolinian. His stage name "Toro Y Moi" is taken from a bilingual translation bull in Spanish and me in French and translates to the “bull and me.”

The ingredients for the best Toro Y Moi album to date is a combination of loops of original electronic music blended with jazz laid over a base of deep beats that are left to simmer for just under an hour and divided into 13 tracks.

This type of music is described as “Chillwave." For me, it’s as if DJ Shadow sampled Animal Collective and Rush. However, there are times when I hear influences of Sujan Stevens’ electronic work, reggae and popular music. The songs on this album taken individually are immersive and when melted together become barely distinguishable. Taken as a whole the total composition sounds like a blur of creative energy, dissected, carefully reconstructed, slowed down and replayed underwater.

The use of piano and organ on "Cola" and "Studies" were especially appealing to me. The easily recognizable piano definitely helps ground the outer-worldly sounds that permeate through the tracks. 

The futuristic-sounding instruments that Bundick uses on “So Many Details,” transmits one of the more quiet moments on the album by creating a personal connection with the loops that paint the landscape on the track. On it, Bundick sings, “You send my life, into somewhere I can’t describe; so many details.”

Bundick's funky approach to "High Living" is one of my favorite moments on this record. It starts with a slow beat and then breaks into a lead taken by what sounds like a child’s keyboard that is low on batteries. Then, Bundick and an expert organ melody lay the foundation for the psychedelic weirdness that defines the Toro Y Moi sound.

Anything in Return by Toro Y Moi Anything in Return by Toro Y Moi

I found myself comparing Toro Y Moi to jazz; it can be great for playing in the background while reading or working. But, it also unpacks quite nicely when some careful attention is paid to the layers of instrumentation that melt together.

Often, it is easier to concentrate on the brilliant moments of improvisation that stand out from the rest but there is a lot of heavy lifting done in the background that keeps the track moving.

The song that pops the most is, "Cake" because Budnick is clearly stepping forward as an artist by not being obscured by the magnetic beats that support him.

 “Anything in Return,” is great house party music but not necessarily dance music; it incorporates hip hop, jazz and rock elements but is a uniquely mellow journey through space and time.

I kept coming back to “Anything in Return” because it a unique and complete package of fun and interesting music. Fans of pop and electronic music will absolutely enjoy this album, if not as a whole, definitely the elements of the greatness exhibited by Toro Y Moi. 

Toro Y Moi will perform with Dog Bite and Wild Belle Monday, Feb. 11 at Union Transfer in Philadelphia. See here for ticket information.

“Anything In Return” is available on iTunes, Amazon, Carpark Records and Spotify.

What’s your favorite track on “Anything in Return?” Comment on Twitter @DBCurrent #TheHighNote

Read the High Note with Shaun Smith every Saturday on www.shorenewstoday.com.

Chaz Bundick with an original painting. Chaz Bundick with an original painting.


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