I can easily say that Toro y Moi, also known as Chaz Bundick (aka Chaz Bear) is my favorite living musician today.
His deep, resonating songs turn my heart velvety. Toro regularly empties my brainspace into a dark smoky dancehall illuminated by a lone computer like neon equalizers dancing at a party. Chaz just has that effect on me.
I grew up alongside his first EPs and releases. If you can believe, I once upon a time saw Toro y Moi, Washed Out and Warpaint perform underneath a makeshift, sunbathed tent in the back of an Urban Outfitters in Austin, Texas at a SXSW secret show in 2010. Those were extraordinary times. Much, much simpler times back then. You probably won’t find me in any of these photos, but you can probably spot Chaz somewhere. Sidenote: those photos are an absolute time-capsule. I shamelessly downloaded them to keep forever. Anyways here’s a photo of Chaz that I can only assume was from the 2010 SXSW:
At some point we all grew up. Toro’s Anything in Return, was my coming of age album, and it’s comforting to put it on during hard times. A reminder, a penchant to stay the course — fight back the demons so to speak. That album (among many others) really got me through some hard times in my life. One of my really good pals, (and extraordinary artist if I may add) Zac is equally a die-hard, and self-proclaimed Chaz super-fan like myself. Toro may have even been the fertilizer (apart from art school) that grew our friendship.
Outer Peace, is no great departure from Chaz’s discography. It’s really nothing out of the ordinary. It’s absolutely everything I would expect from Toro y Moi. It’s warmer and a little bit more bumpier, than his last album under the Toro moniker. I’ll give him that. Give this track a listen and tell me that’s got a positive vibe. Boo Boo is like a rainy day album. Something to blast on the AirPods during a solemn walk or on a the way home after a long week at the office.
To me, Outer Peace is a nod to his weirder soundscape side-projects, and signals that he’s on the search for something again. Laws of the Universe, feels like it could be an earlier track from the days of Underneath the Pine. But really, it has these tropical, maybe even Latin undertones, so it stands apart from the rest of the record a bit. I love it. Like Freelance has these bouncey, modulated, pitch-stretched samples that just feels exploratory like this 80’s italian electronic song I just love to reference, Vamos a La Playa.
Toro might dig a smoother and looser tempo nowadays, and that brings it to a mellower record for sure. I’m not even mad about that. But man, I don’t think I’ve ever been disappointed by Chaz Bear. Looking forward to more jams. His records just get better and better ✌️