The Squeezebox: Toro y Moi – Underneath the Pine (2011)

10 02 2011

When Chaz Bundick, aka Toro y Moi, released Causers [of This] last year, he rocked the chillwave scene with a clever mixture of airy, echoey vocal harmonics and downtempo, wistful electronic accompaniment.  Just listening was enough to send you into a hazey, hallucinogenic dream state.  It’s a trip, no chemical additives necessary.  So when I found out this Colombia, SC-bred enigma put up his newest LP, Underneath The Pine online for free streaming a good two weeks before its February 22nd release date, I grabbed my favorite blankey and a big cup of hot chocolate, hit play and prepared myself for what was sure to be another wild trip through the senses.

Just ten seconds into track one I had to pause.  What happened to all the electronic beats?  What are all these sounds, so natural and ethereal?  Is that a harp?  Bongos?  Where’s the Korg?  Is this the same guy?  Mr. Bundick, what have you done?

It’s okay, I told myself, it’s just the beginning.  Track two will be more predictable, I’m sure.  So I start listening.  The vocal qualities are the same, so it’s definitely the same guy, but the instrumentation is much more organic, malleable, natural.  And this new groove permeates the entire album.  Sure, there’s still plenty of synths and effects, but the addition of live guitars, bass and drums, along with plenty of other interesting instruments, gives it a much more accessible, down-to-earth feel.  If Causers was conceived in Bundick’s hazey, techno-nerd basement bachelor pad, Underneath the Pine came from his back yard, among the bright clouds and sturdy trees.

From start to finish, Underneath the Pine brings a fresh, exciting new aspect to Toro y Moi‘s musical repertoire; a natural, traditional style of musical composition that compliments fantastically his previous, more electronic sound.  Bundick has proven to us that he is a talented multi-instrumentalist who can meld and shape any instrument, digital, analog or otherwise, to fit his personal stylistic vision.  So go ahead and grab your own blankey and hot cocoa, hit that play button and enjoy.

–87% travlife

Urban Outfitters 1st Listen – Toro y Moi

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