Toro Y Moi: UNDERNEATH THE PINE

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Toro Y Moi: UNDERNEATH THE PINE

Justin Bolois discusses tracks from Toro Y Moi's latest album.





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It was bound to be the ultimate bastardization. Chaz Bundick of Toro Y Moi, part of the inscrutable movement called Chillwave, had teamed up with Urban Outfitters to offer an exclusive first preview of his sophomore album Underneath the Pine. The recipe for artistic botchery was brewing.

Underneath the Pine, Bundick explains, is a southern reference to a folklore burial spot. And if these are the sounds he envisions accompanying his everlasting sleep, I would gladly hold my breath, wriggle open the cover, and squeeze into the casket.

Using U.O. as a marketing platform raises warning flags. But the music stands on its own merit, or to be more accurate, it moves in another direction, retreating from the sample-based architecture of his first album Causers of This into a melodically sophisticated setting of live instrumentation.

"Before I'm Done" harnesses Bundick's new song sensibility as a delicate acoustic guitar floats you into a wispy haze grounded in surprising bass and backbeat, only to dissolve into a dream-like abstraction. And in referencing composers like Ennio Morricone, Bundick proves he's not tied to the glitchy clangor that dominated his previous sound spectrum.

Songs like "How I Know" reinforce his knack for producing up-tempo pop grooves drenched in '80s flavored synths. But more arresting are tracks like "Good Hold," with its jarring piano and faint, wobbly fuzz, or the stealthily seductive instrumental piece "Divina." Bundick lets time unfold gradually, leaving space open instead of filling it with his usual clutter. It turns out Underneath the Pine was never about demise, only rebirth.






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