The Futuristic Retro Synth-Pop of Toro y Moi

For a guy who’s being plugged as nothing less than the future of music by the usual round of influential blogs and sites such as Pitchfork, Gorilla vs. Bear, and others, Columbia, SC bedroom musician Chaz Bundick’s new Toro y Moi album Causers of This sounds eerily similar at times to the early Moog-based synth experiments of Dick Hyman.

There’s an endearingly old-fashioned feeling to tracks such as “Lissoms,” which manages to combine “Strait Up” era Paula Abdul with a repetetive, tape-looped style that’s similar to those backwards-masked recordings the PMRC and others ‘exposed’ in the 80s.

Best-publicized track (so far) “Blessa” and others such as “Faux Shadow” are close cousins to Animal Collective, a frequent touchstone so far for the blogosphere’s coverage of Toro y Moi, but there’s a lot more going on here than that lazy comparison indicates. Bundick is akin to the early rap DJs in that he’s an obvious student of his influences; rather than borrowing the beats directly from the 12-inch singles and albums, however, he has managed to assimilate the sounds into his own head, and his laptop, in a way that allows him to transfer those disparate elements into something that’s both completely new and completely old at the same time.

One recommendation: this is a true ‘headphone’ album, in that there are layers and directions that the music contains which are not readily apparent unless you’re connected directly at the ears, in stereo–Dick Hyman-loving audiophile geeks and the Moog inventors would be proud.

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