Toro Y Moi Freaking Out EP
1. All Alone
2. Freaking Out
4. Saturday Love
5. I Can Get Love
For Toro Y Moi’s Chaz Bundick, 2011 has seen the release of his acclaimed sophomore album, Underneath the Pine, remix work for Tyler, the Creator, a split 7” with Cloud Nothings, and a steady stream of international tour dates. Just over halfway through what’s already been a busy year, the prolific producer has a brand new batch of lavishly funky material to offer.
Bundick’s latest is no sloppily assembled bunch of Pine session throwawaysthe Freaking Out EP was put to tape in June during a period of touring quiescence. The release finds Bundick reveling in twenty minutes of boogie, roping in the heavy sounds of groups like the Gap Band and Mtume. While the first two tracks are modern takes on the 80s post-disco vibe, “Sweet” sounds like the product of a Todd Edwards and Teddy Riley collaboration, with smooth synths weaving in and out of meticulously chopped and arranged vocal samples. The New Jack influence spills over into the cover of Cherrelle and Alexander O’Neill’s “Saturday Love,” in which a swingbeat carries along fluttering piano lines steeped in delay. The EP’s crown jewel, “I Can Get Love,” sees Bundick assimilating styles of each of his to-date releases, with the synthesized funk of Causers of This, the irresistible hooks of Pine, and dance alias Les Sins’ penchant for filter effects and house beats.Full of energy and crafted with a conciseness that begs repeated listens, Freaking Out isToro Y Moi’s most concentrated venture into pure dance floor hedonism.
Chaz Bear (formerly Bundick) was a musician from birth. Growing up, it was normal to hear music across genres, from Michael Jackson to Elvis Costello to The Specials, in the Bundick household. These influences were quite unique for a biracial kid growing up in South Carolina, contributing to the complexity of Chaz’s self-understanding and expression through his own music.
Chaz began playing and recording original compositions in his preteen years, forming multiple indie bands starting in middle school and continuing until his personal project, Toro y Moi, was signed by Carpark Records in 2009. Before getting signed, he was already an incredibly prolific artist, having released over 10 Toro y Moi albums on his own (and undoubtedly retaining a vast compendium of unreleased songs). His personal work drew upon a vaster array of influences than did his full band. Early Toro work called upon Chaz’s childhood exposure to 80’s R&B, pop and electronic music, while also evolving with his discoveries of acts like My Bloody Valentine and J Dilla and his burgeoning interest in French house. Just before his graduation from the University of South Carolina, where he earned a degree in graphic design, Chaz caught the attention of music bloggers and record labels with his dreamy, bedroom recordings, eventually compiled into his first album under Carpark Records, Causers of This.
Causers was one of a few albums to kick off the trend of home-recorded, hazy albums relying heavily on samples and production, evoking the feeling of a muggy, Southern summer. While the album did well and broke ground for Chaz’s career as a musician, it resulted in the widespread assumption that Chaz was a one trick pony, able only to write music similar to that of Causers. He immediately made it clear that he is an extremely dynamic musician with the 2011 release of Underneath the Pine, an album recorded between tours that was composed entirely of live instrumentation, moving away from the sample-based aesthetic of Causers. From then on, Chaz released an album every other year (sometimes more frequently), each one a display of his adeptness with different genres. While each album was distinct and sometimes a complete departure from the previous, Chaz’s unique production techniques and melodic sensibilities tie them all together. Whether listening to the psych rock-based What For? or 2017’s R&B-influenced Boo Boo, it is always clear that it’s a Toro y Moi album.
The most recent Toro y Moi album, Outer Peace, was written and recorded in the Bay Area after Chaz’s return from a one year stint in Portland. It is somewhat of a homecoming celebration, filled with features by friends and saturated with a playfulness that had not previously been embraced in past Toro albums. Outer Peace stands in contrast to the more sparse and contemplative Boo Boo, an album recorded while in Portland in relative isolation. With Outer Peace, Chaz showcases his ability to remain on the cutting edge of music’s evolution while not taking himself too seriously. There are contemporary hip hop references mixed in with funk, Eurodance and ambient elements, all interwoven expertly and retaining that quintessential Toro y Moi aesthetic.
Only five days after releasing Outer Peace, Chaz posted a photo of a cassette titled “SOUL TRASH V1” on his Instagram with Dropbox link to what appeared to be a mixtape. Later, the post and link were taken down and for the first time, Soul Trash will receive a proper release on October 29th along with a short film by Laneya Billingsley.