The Man and the Movement

Breakout artist Toro Y Moi epitomizes a new wave in indie sound.

Toro Y Moi have the artistry to back up the buzz.

Image by Photo Courtesy Patrick Jeffords

Toro Y Moi have the artistry to back up the buzz.

by Sally Hedberg


WHAT: Toro Y Moi with Unknown Mortal Orchestra

WHEN: 8 p.m., Sunday

WHERE: Triple Rock, 629 Cedar Ave.

COST: $15


Chaz Bundick isnâÄôt your typical breed of game-changing musician. He hasnâÄôt penned the great anthem of our generation and his time onstage sure isnâÄôt spent causing mayhem with an electric guitar. In fact, there are not any guitars involved at all.

Yet, armed with a laptop, some plug-in effects and a sensibility for layering beats, his solo project, Toro Y Moi, has materialized into a key player at the forefront of a relevant musical movement: the chillwave movement.

The thing about chillwave is that itâÄôs not taken completely seriously as a genre. Initiated as a term off-handedly thrown around by the blogosphere snark of Hipster RunoffâÄôs âÄúCarles,âÄù it was quickly adopted as a succinct way to describe music acts that centered on synths, computer-generated sounds and filtered vocals âÄî essentially electronic shoegaze.

Artists that formerly existed on the vague fence of categorization (e.g. Panda Bear and Neon Indian) were soon ushered under the umbrella of this new genre.

In a sense, it was ingenious. There was a real sense of similarity among the output of music, but not all musicians were able to seethe humor in the absurdity of it all.

Toro Y Moi is not one of these artists. Constantly associated with âÄúchillwave,âÄù Bundick has better things to do than protest the claims of an online persona.

âÄúEverything has a genre,âÄù Bundick said. âÄúIt really just helps people relate to it: to call it whatever or associate it with something. TheyâÄôre always going to do it. IâÄôm completely unaffected.âÄù

That attitude is crucial for BundickâÄôs focus. By doing so, heâÄôs been able to stand out among his similar-sounding peers.

ThereâÄôs an edge of finesse that isnâÄôt present in anything else. Circling around largely funk and R&B foundations, Toro Y Moifuses tracks that are pristine in their execution.

It has the dance aspect that keeps listeners invested but maintains an edge thatâÄôs dreamy, upbeat and has purpose. It also manages to avoid freewheeling into an overly experimental, psychedelia-oriented realm. Not everyone can dig Panda Bear, and thatâÄôs what renders it more accessible to the music-listening masses.

With all of his recent hype Bundick is a busy man, but productivity is the name of Toro Y MoiâÄôs game. With two full-length albums out in just two years and a recently released EP (âÄúFreaking OutâÄù), Bundick has no plans to slow down on the creative end of things.

âÄúIâÄôm not going to stop releasing,âÄù Bundick said. âÄúThereâÄôs already more stuff in the works. After this chunk of tour is over IâÄôm going to really focus on more songwriting.âÄù

Maintaining buzz in the music industry is never guaranteed, but for the time being, Toro Y Moi is in a comfortable place. TheyâÄôve already got the following. If they can keep up the steam, theyâÄôll continue to ride that chillwave of success, no problem.