Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Album Review | Anything in Return - Toro y moi

Artist: Toro y moi
Album: Anything in Return (2013)

Chaz Bundick, musically known as Toro y Moi, strikes me as a creative who approaches his vision the same way he would a design project, and given his academic background in graphic design, it makes perfect sense. Although it's an admirable characteristic to think that way, it wasn't until the producer/song-writer released his third full-length LP, Anything in Return in 2013 that I really began to understand the progression of his art. Perhaps, the follow up to this album was meant to regress-and time travel to his mix tape days in a sense-but, I didn't fall in love with his more recent project, What for? the same way I fell for this one. 

The mellow tone throughout Anything in Return makes me think of a lazy Saturday afternoon or a road trip down a scenic highway. It's easy to understand why his music is commonly referred to "chillwave", or beach music. Although Chaz has mentioned in previous interviews that it wasn't his intention to create that kind of sound, it's fitting. However, this album is still able to bring a lot of different genres to the table, creating a cohesive mixture of house, funky, electronic and pop elements. And the lack of ambition that he seems to possess as an artist doesn't materialize itself in his music; it's a malfunctioning structure that actually works for him.

In terms of context, it's the perfect album for a free spirit finding love and discovering who they are all at once. It's a compilation reflective of the idea of always striving to be a better person and never forgetting to enjoy the ride and live in the moment. I remember reading somewhere that this album was written and recorded while Bundick's was moving across the country from South Carolina to California with his girlfriend, a gesture that is reflected effortless on this record. That seemingly insignificant detail adds a bit of romanticism and character to the story line. Uncertain of what direction he's going in next, I really do hope for the best in that Toro y moi continues to grow with his music. 

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