Stating the obvious, Toro y Moi makes chillwave. Causers of This: chillwave. Underneath the Pine: chillwave. This is not to say that either of these records sound like each other. In fact, Chaz Bundick, the young man behind Toro y Moi, clearly progresses and warps his brand of the small genre with each record, utilizing a new set of sounds that are bound together by a few key elements that maintain continuity in his music. On the latest Toro y Moi LP, Anything in Return, Bundick does it again, this time taking recognizable pop and R&B sounds and making his liveliest record to date.
Make no mistake, Toro y Moi always sounds like Toro y Moi, but this comes from craft, and not repetition. Chaz Bundick is a master of his of craft. To me, he is like a toy hobbyist, each record being like a different model airplane. He carefully pieces together songs using some tried-and-true homemade glue that puts his signature on his work. When they're finished, each album has it's own aesthetic and a function. 2011's Freaking Out EP was an up-front and energetic affair, borrowing from funk and disco, as well as early house - music that inspires dancing. Presented in a more relaxed format, Anything in Return is the after-party to Freaking Out.
The first things you'll hear on the record are lightly shuffling hi-hats, pumping but tastefully understated bass, and some piano and female vocal samples that sound as if they've been lifted from Crystal Waters' "Gypsy Woman." There are parts of the record like in "So Many Details," and "High Living" where Toro y Moi shoots for "slow jam," and actually almost gets there, the latter being more hot-box than cool sweat. Bundick hones in on hip-hop with some of his beats, like in "Day One" and "Studies," which actually utilizes a rather psychedelic harpsichord. Bundick compliments his lush jams with lyrics of love-interest, sometimes not subtle enough ("Cake"), but mostly appropriately moody.
Saying flat-out that Anything in Return uses "1990's" electric piano, some new jack swing percussion, and R&B themes might sound like what could be cheap nostalgia. However, like his previous work, Toro y Moi's new record exists in a new space and time, created by Bundick, where progressive synth-pop music and the sonically familiar meet in a moment of "chill."
Anything in Return is out now on Carpark Records. Pick up a copy here.