Toro Y Moi is the stage name for a guy named Chaz Bundick, a 24 year-old from South Carolina. Chaz had a record out last year, “Causers of This”, which was a perfect chill-wave branded masterpiece. Yet on this new LP, “Underneath The Pine”, Chaz has gone a different direction – and that is hi-fi funk, and it really couldn’t fit better with his evolution as an artist since 2007 when he started.
This record starts off with an instrumental, a really old-school, Marvin Gaye style soul-instrumental that kicks off his first song, which is his second single he released with a music video sponsored by Urban Outfitters entitled “New Beat”. This track is straight out of early 1980’s, and could easily have been on Michael Jackson’s “Off The Wall” debut and features nice ambient bridges before the funk kicks back in. Chaz definitly enjoys his electric keyboard as it’s featured in the entire record as the backbone of every song and is also the intro instrument in his song, “Go With You”. This song features more older Toro Y Moi ambient vocals that really aren’t featured too frequently in his new record while he chants, “I’ll be alright, whatever it is”. The progression on the next song, “Divina”, is very reminicent of an Elton John song when the piano kicks in. It is also a instrumental, but results in one of the favorite gems on this record. “Before I’m Done” is the only song to feature guitar over the electric keyboard, one can also hear mellotron flute samples in this track, and it is one of the few slower songs on this record.
The second half kicks the funk back in with “Got Blinded” but features vocals that are very Beach Boys esque, which is a good way to explain the way Chaz prefers to sing on this record. The next track, “How I Know” is much more up-beat but features a similar vocal style, it features a very cool piano part in the background that adds a lot of character to the song. “Still Sound” is the perfect first single for this record with a very cool vintage looking video to accomadate it as well. This video, with the song, just makes you want to get up and dance. Also, it features a great keyboard riff that may just be two chords but is very catchy, especially with the vocals he puts on the song. The next to final track, “Good Hold” will disorient you if you have headphones on and haven’t heard the song, as it features heavy stereo imaging that may make you fall over if your walking. The final track, “Elise” is the longest track on the record and has a great bassline, which really the whole record does, but on this song it stands out.
This record is a personal favorite for the year of 2011 so far, even over Cut Copy’s “Zonoscope”, as far as electronic dance music goes. That album came out earlier this month, however, that is judging two complete different styles of dance music. “Underneath The Pine” will be released in the US on the 22nd of February. If you like electronic dance music, and even the good old funk, this record would definitely be recommend for you to listen to.
Until it’s release, one can stream the whole record at Urban Outfitters’ website.
Written by Spencer Brynes