Toro y Moi - What For?
"[Empty Nesters is] A totally eclectic return from the artist who can seemingly do it all" åÊ-åÊZane Lowe BBC Radio 1åÊ
"'Empty Nesters' is a charming Return. A Lo-fi into of melodic jangle gives way to something funkier and more psychedelic. Skillyfull spinning genres like plates, Bundick sings "Let's make another hit for the teens". He's making itåÊlook easy.‰åÊ-åÊNMEåÊåÊ
‰ÛÏ[Chaz Bundick is] a prolific artist who never comes off like he‰۪s in a race with his muse.‰åÊ- Pitchfork
Never one to stand still and fresh from a scheduled intermission whilst working on a dance record as Les Sins, loaningåÊhis vocals to Chromeo and starting his own record label, producer, songwriter, singer and melodic mastermind ChazåÊBundick is all set to resume his Toro Y Moi guise with brand new album What For?. And whilst most would think thereåÊwere no genres left to play with, the intrepid musical explorer is about to throw one hell of a curve ball into the mix.
‰ÛÏI‰۪ve done electronic R&B and more traditional recorded R&B stuff. I just wanted to see what else was outåÊthere,‰Bundick says of the record‰۪s new direction. ‰ÛÏIt‰۪s all coming from the same mindset and point of creativity. It‰۪s juståÊme trying to take what I already have, then taking it further asking, "OK, what can I do now?" or "What haven't I triedåÊyet?"
As mastermind and ringleader of the smeared electronic production sound that defined and established ‰Û÷chillwave‰۪åÊbefore hipsters rode it within an inch of its life (see 2010‰۪s Causers of This), an explorer of motorik space-age funkåÊ(2011‰۪s Underneath The Pine), smoky 4/4 house-tinged pop, electro-funk and late-night electronic soul (2013‰۪s AnythingåÊIn Return) all to critical acclaim, What For? is where Toro Y Moi‰۪s story continues - albeit one that leaves its trueåÊmeaning only to imagination. ‰ÛÏThe album‰۪s main themes are love and nature,‰ he hints. ‰ÛÏI wrote about personalåÊexperiences but intentionally left them vague. I‰Û÷ve always felt that good songs should heighten your mental awareness.‰
Written and recorded over the course of eight months at his home studio in Berkeley, California,What For?drawsåÊinspiration from Big Star, Talking Heads and Todd Rundgren, as well as the psychedelic soul of Brazil‰۪s Tim Maia andå?Û÷70s-era jazz-funk of France‰۪s Cortex. Unknown Mortal Orchestra guitarist Ruban Neilson appears on the album, asåÊdoes multi-instrumentalist Julian Lynch. This time, meticulous production of stereo-panned guitars, buzzingåÊsynthesizers, funky keys and live drumming has paved the way for the feel of a rock band playing together in the sameåÊroom; ‰ÛÏA studio should keep changing and all of the gear should be out and exposed or else you'll never remember toåÊuse it. With this album, I'd just walk up to an instrument somewhere in my house and start writing,‰Bundick recalls. Having spent his formative years playing in punk rock bands and studying graphic design at the University of SouthåÊCarolina, Bundick began making bedroom recordings under the name Toro Y Moi in 2001. Those early demos made upåÊthe seeds of his distinct retro-future sound ahead of a brief stint in New York before relocating to California in 2012. It‰۪såÊa move that has given Bundick time to reflect on what‰۪s important, allowing him the freedom to create whilst alsoåÊembarking upon new exciting projects such as establishing ‰Û÷Company‰۪ records; ‰ÛÏHaving a label has been a goal for a while. I want to be a part of this generation,‰tells Bundick. ‰ÛÏI'm aiming to takeåÊCompany as far as it can go. I'm helping artists with each release from production to the design of the album cover toåÊmake something timeless.‰
Whether recording and creating another album, or assisting with someone else‰۪s work in progress, Bundick continues toåÊprove to be as prolific as he is diverse. In the process he is constantly pushing the limits to point Toro Y Moi in newåÊdirections, yet never sacrificing his melodic sensibility or keen ear for arrangements and texture.åÊ
What For? - Why Not...åÊ