Chaz Bundick, aka Toro Y Moi, will be more than accustomed tot he term “chillwave”. Coining alternative terms (“glo-fi” being the most heavily used of these), the main instigators who carry the term and the scene are Memory Tapes,Washed Out and his South Carolina companion, Toro Y Moi. And with the scene being dismissed by commentators before it can get going, Bundick has been quick to distance himself from any criticism with a surprisingly diverse debut.
Any claims that the one-man project has latched on to an alluring bandwagon can be done away with by Causers Of This. Not only did Toro Y Moi begin nearly 10 years back in 2001 as a “side-project” to then full-time band The Heist And The Accomplice but, in the present day, this former bedroom project explores genres that perhaps had more momentum in previous years; R ‘n’ B, House and, most notably, modern-day Dance.
This is a scatterbrain record and, while that plays into Bundick’s hands, it’s also potentially a substantial downfall. It reduces its accessibility. Although the likes of Talamak and You Hid flux together with perfection, there are more unwelcome, unnecessary arrivals; the chop-and-change Freak Love and the uptempo, ’90s house scene homage Low Shoulder. Both are invigorating listens in their own right, but each take something away from the flow of the album.
The core pace and the various rhythms floating amongst a hazy, ambient fuzz recite the party-scene of Justice‘s debut, an album where the tempo is rarely notched downwards, the intensity becoming close to unbearable. Bundick plays a smart move by occasionally switching off the drums and the drive entirely, giving way to nothing but a distant, indistinct abstract fog midway through Lissoms and allowing Minors to flutter out into a casual, slick exit after a relentless first two minutes.
The album’s highlight, Blessa, is a more toned-down affair, with are verb-sipping Bundick begging “Come home in the summer, live a life that you miss”. It’s songs like these that you can imagine, with a little 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 This places itself nicely into a run-down house-party environment. It’s amore claustrophobic record than any of Bundick’s contemporaries have produced, and it does a fine job of separating itself from almost everything else currently emerging, aiming towards a similar demographic of youngsters, seeking escape. Toro Y Moi puts intelligence and inventiveness into a youthful music genre dumbing itself down at an unduly early stage.