"Causers of This" by Toro Y Moi

Toro Y Moi
Causers of This

Carpark Records
2010

Review

Take MGMT, DJ Shadow, Madlib, Young Einstein, Teddy Riley, DJ Krush, Ok Go, and the LA Beat Scene then sit on the beach to watch a sunset to get a feeling to filter it all through and you'll get something close to this. That is to say that it contains equal parts 1980's R&B Synth Happiness, 2000's underground Hip-Hop instrumentation, and a bit of the sensibilities of the current beat music scene. Sounds extra good to me, how about you?

I've been quite critical about producers who have less than serviceable singing voices singing on their songs when they should really stick to - you know - producing. Toro Y Moi (aka Chazwick Bundick) does not have this problem at all. Not only is he a great producer, but he is a serviceable singer as well (he struggles a bit on the high-high notes, but at least he's not auto-tuning himself). His voice rides the pockets of his production perfectly. So no complaints this go-round about poor singing. His production is excellent as well and is very clean and crisp. His style seems to be more about just making good electronic music without too many obvious tricks; there are effects such as distortion, static, reverb etc...but it's never overtly done in a manner to become a stylistic crutch. The songs here are also never really in a hurry - picture "Oracular Spectacular" MGMT just slowed down a shade. Speaking of MGMT, if you liked "Oracular Spectacular", you'll probably love this one as well, just be in a mellow mood when you listen to it (although the second half of the album seems to be more about up-tempo 1980's R&B inspired dance tunes with some Rock and Roll added for good measure - think Ok Go).

The lyrics are good as well, although you'll have to really be listening to catch them since they blend so well with the rest of the sounds. For example, take the following lyrics from "Talamak":

When can we get together again?
Nevermind, I lost you
How can I tell if I love you anymore?
Nevermind, I know I do

...not bad, right? The thing is, the album isn't really about the lyrics per-se. They blend in like M.I.A.'s last record but they aren't as important to the music as they were in the M.I.A. case.

My favorite tracks on this album are "Lissoms" and the titular "Causers Of This". "Lissoms" is WOW. Listen to that on repeat! If you love or even kind like electronic music, you have got to peep that one - it sounds like a Young Einstein beat chopped and screwed. "Causers Of This" was meant for the dancefloor in way that made me think of Ok Go's recent White Knuckles.

What else can I say? This is an excellent electronic album and 2010 continues to impress me in this genre. A must listen.

4.182 out of 5

Track Ratings

1. Blessa (02:43) 4
2. Minors (03:02) 5
3. Imprint After (03:04) 3
4. Lissoms (02:13) 5
5. Fax Shadow (02:51) 4
6. Thanks Vision (03:44) 5
7. Freak Love (02:52) 3
8. Talamak (02:27) 5
9. You Hid (03:24) 4
10. Low Shoulder (03:35) 3
11. Causers of This (03:02) 5