Album review: Toro Y Moi – ‘Causers Of This’ (Carpark)

Stylishly soporific, the glo-fi pioneer's debut is a blissed-out masterpiece

South Carolina: a perma-tanned paradise along the USA’s East Coast known for grabbing more sun than you could shake a Cornetto at. This, and soon-to-be famous for being the epicentre of a burgeoning musical movement, will make you want to flick a ‘V’ at spring cleaning, don some sunglasses and head to your nearest patch of sand.

In case you didn’t receive the memo, blog or smoke signals, the past year was not a lame duck for musical innovation. Old mother music actually gave miraculous birth to a blissfully laidback ‘new’ genre which is the proverbial fat kid at a buffet, feasting on all manner of influences and still wanting more. Call it glo-fi, chillwave, hypnagogic pop or… well, pretty much anything you like as it happens, as, with each new blog, another writer flings a name toward the vacuum of chic hoping it’ll stick.

Regardless of what it may or may not be called, the music is hazy, sun-drenched ’80s synth-pop produced on enough tapes to keep the cassette industry afloat for another decade. Toro Y Moi (aka Chaz Bundick) is a glo-fi pioneer, and this record is one of two releases from the 23-year-old this year. Chaz has dipped his toe in numerous musical ventures in the past, with an alt.rock band and French house project both notable bedpost notches, but it’s here he’s truly found his sound, making many a blogger moist in the process.

We’ve been here before with blink-and-you’ll-miss-it musical revolutions (helloo, new rave). But, unlike the cancer of ear-bleedingly awful bands that popped out of the Day-Glo hype balloon thinking they could ‘do a Klaxons’ a few years back, Toro Y Moi is in very good company. Other riders of the chillwave include the mesmerising electronic coma that is [a]Memory Tapes[/a], Neon Indian and the laidback hum of Washed Out. ‘Causers Of This’ infects your mind with pure psychedelia, splicing such conflicting sounds as soul, freak folk, hip-hop and electronica, and the result hits you like [a]Animal Collective[/a] on a comedown, or Ariel Pink with Seasonal Affective Disorder. Although a mere 33 minutes, ‘Causers…’ is a woozy kaleidoscopic voyage, sending you in and out of consciousness with each splendidly shoddy lo-fi recording. Opener ‘Blessa’ is feather-light dream-pop which hypnotises your ears into complete submission, whereas soulful vocals blend with hip-hop beats in ‘Fax Shadow’, proving Toro Y Moi as quite the chameleon. ‘Talamak’ is the record at its most energetic, as the anaesthetic starts to wear off for a psychoactive dance-off between body and mind.

Drowsy though it may be, we’re far from tired of this starry-eyed one-man band – let’s just hope he and his wonderfully vague scene are still around after our own inevitably wet and weary summer.

[b]Sam Rowe[/b]

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Click here to get your copy of Toro Y Moi’s ‘Causers Of This’ from the Rough Trade shop.