Toro y Moi

(Copyright © 2018 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of Use )
Causers Of This (2010), 6.5/10
Underneath The Pine (2011), 5/10
Anything In Return (2013), 4.5/10
What For? (2015), 4.5/10
June 2009 (2012), 4/10
Samantha (2015), 4/10
Boo Boo (2017), 4/10
Outer Peace (2019), 4.5/10
Mahal (2022), 4/10

Toro y Moi, the brainchild of Berkeley-based singer-songwriter Chaz "Bear" Bundick, concocted relaxed synth-pop in early singles such as 109 (2009), Sad Sams (2009) and Blessa (2009), his early signature song; a passion confirmed by the EP Left Alone At Night (2009) and the cassette Body Angles (2009) and by the breakup album Causers Of This (2010), an early example of electronic chillwave and one of the most melancholy ones (Thanks Vision, You Hid and especially Talamak). His dynamic production borrowed a page or two from the manuals of glitch and Flying Lotus-era hip-hop.

He then morphed into a folkish singer-songwriter on the humble Underneath The Pine (2011), less derivative of the 1980s and more versatile, ranging from the dissonant Good Hold to the catchy Elise and to the muzak of How I Know , via the lightweight sleek funk shuffle New Beat. and especially Still Sound.

The mellow funk-soul ballads of the EP Freaking Out (2011) sounded like a digital version of Prince.

He then changed style again veering towards the dancefloor on Anything In Return (2013), that contains the Michael Jackson-esque single So Many Details (2012) as well as Cola. And then he changed style again on the guitar-driven (although not really rocking); and on What For? (2015), that contains Spell It Out.

June 2009 (2012) collects early recordings.

Samantha (2015) is a mixtape that collects unreleased music.

After the uninspired Boo Boo (2017), that mimicked contemporary "r&b", Toro y Moi made a well-arranged album of house music, Outer Peace (2019), notably the slim funky single Freelance and the syncopated soul-jazzy Ordinary Pleasure.

Mahal (2022) delves into funk, soul and jazz with little or no originality. Instrumental opener The Medium is a decent take on psychedelic funk, but the rest is mostly shapeless, background pop muzak. To make matters worse, the songs are bogged down by horrible vocals, whether female (the soul ballad Magazine) or male the funk-jazz shuffle The Loop). Emblematic of his sluggish soul-jazz style is Millennium, a meeting of Prince and George Benson.

(Copyright © 2016 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )