Chaz Bundick, AKA Toro Y Moi, will be more than accustomed tothe term “chillwave”. Coiningalternative terms (“glo-fi” being the most heavily used of these), themain instigators who carry the term and the scene are Memory Tapes,Washed Out and his South Carolina companion, Toro Y Moi. And with thescene being dismissed by commentators before it can get going, Bundickhas been quick to distance himself from any criticism with asurprisingly diverse debut.
Any claims that the one-man project has latched on to an alluringbandwagon can be done away with by Causers Of This. Not only didToro Y Moi begin nearly 10 years back in 2001 as a “side-project” tothen full-time band The Heist And The Accomplice but, in thepresent day, this former bedroom project explores genres that perhapshad more momentum in previous years; R ‘n’ B, House and, most notably,modern-day Dance.
This is a scatterbrain record and, while that playsinto Bundick’s hands, it’s also potentially a substantial downfall. Itreduces its accessibility. Although the likes of Talamak andYou Hid flux together with perfection, there are more unwelcome,unecessary arrivals; the chop-and-change Freak Love and the uptempo,’90s house scene homage Low Shoulder. Both are invigorating listens intheir own right, but each take something away from the flow of thealbum.
The core pace and the various rhythms floating amongst a hazy,ambient fuzz recite the party-scene of Justice‘s debut, analbum where the tempo is rarely notched downwards, the intensitybecoming close to unbearable. Bundick plays a smart move byoccasionally switching off the drums and the drive entirely, givingway to nothing but a distant, indistinct abstract fog midway throughLissoms and allowing Minors to flutter out into a casual, slick exitafter a relentless first two minutes.
The album’s highlight, Blessa, is a more toned-down affair, with areverb-sipping Bundick begging “Come home in the summer, live a lifethat you miss”. It’s songs like these that you can imagine, with alittle word-of-mouth, being able to develop into summer anthems,capable of defining the forthcoming months of 2010.
The “chillwave” phenomenon is visually associated with beaches,sunsets and young love. But more than anything Causers Of Thisplaces itself nicely into a run-down house-party environment. It’s amore claustrophobic record than any of Bundick’s contemporaries haveproduced, and it does a fine job of separating itself from almosteverything else currently emerging, aiming towards a similardemographic of youngsters, seeking escape. Toro Y Moi putsintelligence and inventiveness into a youthful music genre dumbingitself down at an unduly early stage.