By Elise Montemayor
Artist: Toro y Moi
Album: Outer Peace
Label: Carpark Records
Release Date: January, 18, 2019
Toro y Moi has an important spot in millenium indie royalty which he ensures in his synth-groovy LP, Outer Peace. Chaz Bear, fka. Chaz Bundick, never shies away from blending different genres found in previous albums to make his own sound. For example, in Causers of This (2010) he introduced himself as a chillwave master, Anything in Return (2013) had lofi-groove elements and in Causers of This (2015) there was a prominent indie rock flare. Now, Bear effortlessly blends electronic dance and R&B into one bubbly and eccentric album with Outer Peace.
Taking it back to the making of his 2017 R&B infused LP, Boo Boo, Bear isolated himself in Portland, Oregon. This caused the sound to seem more moody or as his label, Carpark Records, refers to it as “contemplative”. Outer Peace, on the other hand, was made in the Bay Area with the company of up-and-coming indie artists such as Abra, WET and Instupendo. The LP has obvious influences of house, funk and airy riffs that add a unique color and vibrancy to each song. Bear opens the album with a booming bass beat in the track “Fading” that doesn’t stray away from what you would hear in his electronic dance side project, Les Sins. In the song “Who Am I” there is a tinge of ‘90s house nostalgia that is unexpected yet refreshing. It makes the listener want to dance in their swimsuit at a bonfire beach party.
Bear also features quirky-clever lyrics that play into the theme of eccentricity that the LP projects onto the listener. In the song “Laws of the Universe” Bear sings, “James Murphy [lead singer of LCD Soundsystem] is playing at my house,”; you see a different side of Bear that shows him having fun with his indie peers, reminding us to make light of pretentious attitudes that the industry can sometimes have. Another stand out song is “Monte Carlo” featuring WET. This track is an instant summer staple with the help of an ambient melody and slow hip hop beat. Lead singer of WET, Kelly Zuratu, lets soft soprano vocals spill into the chorus, breaking up the heavy bass beat that Bear makes apparent throughout the album.
Outer Peace is a journey through the mind of a modern day music producer that never fails to keep you on your toes with each bass drop, auto tuned vocal and spritzy sound effect. The album is simply one of Bear’s best, and is a product of an evolving world and Bear evolving with it.