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Album Review
Causers Of This

Causers Of This
by Toro Y Moi


Review Date
16th March 2010
Reviewed by
Paul Gallagher

After the slew of so-called lo-fi / glo-fi buzz groups that have stormed both hipster's record players and 'alternative' music journalism in the last year or so, we're now able to witness a certain dilution as the camps of fuzz lovers conduct a Sino-Soviet Split of their own. On one hand you have the flag carried by lo-fi garage aficionados with the likes of Real Estate, Flight, Ty Segall and Ducktails leading the charge. But then there's the other group, centred on a seemingly a bit more laid back but deceptively overpowering beat and production focussed creeping swash. It's been coined 'chillwave' as a genre and it's epitomized by the likes of Washed Out, Memory Tapes / Memory Cassette and Toro Y Moi. 

Currently touring with our own much loved the Ruby Suns and hitting the flotsam and jetsam that is SXSW - Toro Y Moi is a continuation of the sort of dubsteb-for-indie-kids, relax stoner, Air Bud tweeking, fashion pop that we've been seeing for a while. But it works.

Toro Y Moi is one guy - Chaz Bundick - who both sounds and (if you've watched any of his videos) looks like he could be an avid American Apparel / Urban Outfitters customer. Packing platinum store cards but in a DIY, hospice shop, will-wear-dad's-sweater-if-it's-ironic-and-or-vintage kind of way - you know the drill. It's just, COOL. 

Signed to Carpark Records (home to scene darling Dan Deacon and the US base for two of our local groups - Over The Atlantic and Signer), Bundick is among kindred hearts - people who can appreciate a built layering of synths and bit-tone beats. While being caught remixing the likes of Washed Out, Toro Y Moi can be viewed as being a bit more intricate, more earnest, more disciplined in what he's doing. Sure he's coy about the party, he's happy to be there, but at the same time the music comes across sort of anally retentive in a way - perhaps not in its ethos but in its construction. It's constructed much in the same way as Four Tet's Pause (2001) - there's a progressive mark of historiography to Bundick's process, a nod to musicians past. Veins of conscious hip hop and constrained R'n'B beat conductors are evident within many of the tracks. It's more urban than how it might appear at first listen, with notions of a sunnier Salem and conducive to showering Madlib with homage praise. It's something that was evident within the cover of Human Nature that Bundick contributed to one of the many Michael Jackson tribute RIP compilations that emerged after the gloved-one's death.

This is intelligent music - with semi-singles Blessa and Talamak having already prospected the way on blogs throughout the internet in recent months, Fax Shadow and Lissoms show Bundick's talent for programming clean synth loops and beat-off drum machine lines, vocal samples, damp static and gloaming lyrics.

It all just brings into question - what are genres? We live in a world where the Dirty Projectors are belting out Mariah Carey-style harmonies and Deerhunter are recruiting 1990s alt-pop legends. Is it all just derivative, throwback bliss? Well it's delicious, and until we descend into pop music characterized by blips and and the sound of digits I'm just going to enjoy it.

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