Toro y Moi is the one-man project of South Carolina–based songwriter/producer Chazwick Bundick. His debut is a leap into a tactile æsthetic where surreal and sometimes unstable atmospheres lure listeners into simple, soulful songs.
Bundick's kitchen-sink approach is a standout element of Causers of This, as layers of subdued keyboards, vague vocals, sparse drum machines, and '80s soul/house-influenced bass lines put you in a sensual listening space. Ambient segues between tracks are flawless, and rhythm tracks dip into heavy dub-/trip-hop-inflected discursiveness. The make-or-break factor will be the production, with either slow tremolo or degrees of compression so heavy that they cause the music to "breathe" (i.e., swell and decay at irregular intervals).
For some, this could be unlistenable; for others, it will simply come off like the natural product of glitch, shoegaze (to which Bundick certainly owes his chord palette), lo-fi, and psych. Take it all away and the songs can sound low-rent when the sun comes up — sometimes Bundick aims for Kate Bush's "Running Up That Hill" and comes out with Pretty Poison's "Catch Me I'm Falling." But even when the foot he plants in pop is a little unsteady, the one he keeps in the club is sure.