Almost 9 months removed from the release of Anything In Return (which is close to holding on for my “best album of 2013″ accolade), and Toro manages to get more mileage out of it with a video for what is emerging as my favourite song from the album. Though a large chunk of it remains in my regular rotation, it’s this one that I find consisently unskippable, regardless of the listening environment, and this far down the line that’s rather high praise.
For a track of this quality, the video had to be one of two things: an excellent story, or visually impressive. It opts for the latter, and delivers in a unique manner with a fantastic concept and execution by Lauren Gregory: the entire video is animated from what I assume are a series of paintings, with the thick strokes and vivid colour palette making for a hypnotising watch. It’s a very original idea that captures the vibe of the track well, with its easygoing nature mirrored by the imperfect, rough-edged painting, whilst its more fun, lively elements are brought out by the chromatics and relatively busy level of activity. Whereas a story-driven video would have sought to add a layer of complexity and depth to proceedings, this direction instead allows the strength of the music to speak for itself, and merely adds a nice artistic touch to help enhance the track’s natural qualities. Worth a go whether you’ve heard the song or not, and grab that album if you don’t already own it for some reason.
I’m unfamiliar with ShowYouSuck, but if you’re going to take on tracks from one of the best producers in today’s music scene, I’m listening. The hilarious artwork doesn’t hurt either. It’s pretty much the artwork Drake should be attaching to his albums/singles/walls at his house.
Here he takes on three tracks from Toro’s fantastic Anything In Return album, grabbing Cola, Cake and Never Matter as his backdrops on this project. All three were very enjoyable listens on the original, particularly Cola, and it’ll be interesting to see how they’re taken on. Again, with no prior knowledge of SYS, it’s a strong way to introduce yourself, and at worst should refresh those originals for many Toro fans. Free download below
Following his acclaimed full-length, Anything In Return, Chaz Bundick’s latest 2013 entry as Toro Y Moi is the “Campo” 7-inch, available exclusively on his fall North American tour.
Unfortunately, it’s not a dedicated to the bushy-haired footballer of Real Madrid and Bolton Wanderers fame. However, it is an easygoing, fun track that might perk up your day a little.
It’s far more funk driven than his work on Anything In Return, throwing out the heavy synth reliance and bringing in a much jazzier range of backing elements, from the immeasurably bouncy bass plucks through to the crisp, dynamic percussion. It’s a solid end result that retains Toro’s easygoing sound, but plies it with a hint of vintage rawness that demonstrates a good level of versatility, and ends up being a track that will slide into any chillout playlist with consumate ease. No word on availability for those not living in North America though, so good luck.
Rose Quartz is definitely one of my favourite tracks from Toro’s excellent Anything In Return album (add Harm In Change and Say That to the list), and whilst remix is probably putting it mildly here, it’s good to see that piece get refreshed here.
This remix essentially reworks the entire track, taking its laidback, progressive nature and filtering it through an electro style that’s experimental and atmospheric in equal measure. There’s a ton of echo throughout, with the percussion reverberating heavily throughout this to create a sense of space and desolation, whilst the crisp drum hits add a slight edge in with that spaced-out vibe. It’s then built on with intermittent melodies, from short vocal samples from the original to distorted keys, and the end result is one that’s a relatively mellow listen, but with a dynamic, unpredicatable edge. Fundamentally, it bears very little resemblance to the original, and hence those looking for a slight tweak on that will be disappointed, but as an independent track its slightly dark, sombre nature makes it worth adding to a winter playlist.
Disclosure’s single from their hotly-anticipated Settle album (due out on 3rd June) undergoes a rework at the hands of Toro, the creator of what is my favourite album of 2013 thus far with Anything In Return.
The original had relatively sombre verses and it’s the comparatively lively hook that reeled the mainstream crowd in, proving a dancefloor favourite with hints of late 90′s electro and garage. Toro strips out those facets and swaps in a more chillout experimental style, and one which works to the softer vibe of the verses rather than the energetic hook: a relatively minimal production is composed of sharp yet understated percussion, gentle touches of synth and rather relies on the vocals to supply the intensity. The latter is important, as it allows the production to amble smoothly through the track without being swept too heavily into the vocal momentum, and hence there’s a mellow consistency that makes this distinct from the back-and-forth style of the original. There’s enough progression here too as the track grows very subtly throughout, in particular the vocals eventually becoming cut and looped quickly to create a slight freneticism, and again it allows the vocals to work the liveliness into the track. A short cool down follows, and finishes off a good remix; it won’t be to everyone’s taste, but it’s a nice accompaniment to the original.
Anything In Return is comfortably my favourite album of 2013 so far (with Foals’ Holy Fire in second), and this track is a great demonstration of why. Whilst it has endured on my regular playlists, it isn’t one I’d have called a primary highlight from the album, and yet it’s still very good.
The audio’s one of the more upbeat, funk-driven tracks on the LP, combining sprightly synths and lively percussion with playful keys, whilst Toro’s vocals are much more pronounced than usual, adding stronger structure to sway this slightly toward the pop direction. It’s an enjoyable listen, and one that’ll get more playtime as summer draws near.
The video’s concept is admirably simple. A VHS camera is set up in a flea market (car boot sale, for us British folk), and passers-by are invited to listen to this track and have a little dance in front of the camera. Nothing flashy, and in fact quite the opposite: the range of people shown are everyday folk from across the spectrum, with no unrealistically good dancers to suggest planting, and hence it makes it all rather more believable and engaging. The use of actual VHS style footage when showing the dancers is a nice technical touch too, adding a retro, geeky element that allows the video to poke a little fun at itself. There’s a somewhat creepy twist at the end which closes things off, and it’s an audiovisual that should really find favour with most. Album available now.
Sidenote: I have a large crush on the lead girl (are you allowed crushes at 25?). If anyone can give her my number or arrange a date, please do so.
Another great in-studio performance from Toro of a track from his excellent Anything In Return album, as he seemingly seeks to enhance his credibility as a producer and performer beyond his laptop-only origins.
Backed by his band, this is certainly going to help that cause. The range of instrumentation used on the track isn’t massively apparent to the casual listener, and hence this performance allows for the guitar and percussion work to shine through much more. It’s also a good chance to appreciate his vocal improvements across his albums, with his once-characteristic whispery soft vocal switched out for a more classically ‘pop’ style that requires a much stronger range than that he’d previously demonstrated; to that end, it’s actually quite refreshing to hear him miss one or two notes, as it goes to show this is a genuinely live performance with few alterations.
A good watch for those who are familiar with the track, and of course for those who aren’t. In either case, be sure to get that album if for some reason you haven’t already.
Toro’s Anything In Return is undoubtedly one of the best album releases in recent months (I intended to write a review, but finding time between regular posts was tough), and whilst it’s a disservice to the album to pick out individual tracks, this certainly stands out as one I’ll be replaying once listening to the whole LP becomes a chore.
Performed live for a French radio station, Toro proceeds to do away with his luscious synths and chilled percussion to deliver the track with only a piano and his vocals. It’s easy to get wrapped up in his excellent production work whilst listening to his works, and with his whispery voice usually operating as another instrument rather than a top layer, this is a great opportunity to spend a little more time with the lyrical output of the track. This stripped-back performance unquestionably adds a lot of depth to the track, with the soft keys lending more emotion to his vocals, and if anything it’s a nice tangent that makes listening to the original an even better experience. Get that album now if you haven’t already.
Not only is Toro’s Anything In Return released tomorrow, but Nosaj comes through with his sophomore album Home on Tuesday too, making for an electronic double-hit that’s definitely going to be worth checking out.
The two come together for a track from the latter’s album, an atmospheric and spaced-out effort that blends together the best of both worlds: Nosaj’s production is gentle yet grand, filling the soundscape with low synths and short, sharp electronic melodies, whilst Toro’s delicate, barely-there vocals complement that excellently and almost act as another instrument rather than a vocal addition. The track finishes on a slight incline in activity, sharpening those synths and vocals into a nice payoff, and these are promising signs for both with those albums due. Sidenote: special shoutout to the SoundCloud commenter that said ‘this makes be want to be a giraffe’.
I’ve taken a real interest in, and liking to, Toro’s music in recent months and it’s with great anticipation that we get this official album preview, a week before its due for release.
The singles released to date have been excellent, whilst his past works are the measuring stick for the chillwave movement, and hopefully that’s all going to culminate in a fantastic 13-track LP on this third go-around for Toro. Thanks to Pitchfork for putting this stream together; you can check out the entire project for yourself below, pre-order the album here, or buy the thing on iTunes next week.
Toro and Dog Bite are set to embark on a tour together, and to commemorate that they’ve put together a shared vinyl single, set for release on 29th January. Toro’s let his section of that release go, and it’s another good listen from the gifted producer, whose own Anything In Return album is released next Tuesday.
It’s a lively soundscape from Toro, with four distinct parts (as the title may suggest), each rather unexpectedly following after the other. The first throws juicy synths and crisp percussion in with repeated electronic melodies for a slightly throwback style, before a soulful hip-hop style percussion takes control via a great vocal sample and thoroughly punchy percussion. That gives way to a beat combining jazzy horns with a broken drum line for a slightly offbeat style that’ll be a hit with Dilla fans, and he closes with an experimental style that thrusts forward a shrill vocal sample over a barely-there production of equally-piercing synths that threatens to destroy your ears. Not a fan of the closer, but the previous 3 parts are very enjoyable, and this is a unique and likeable release ahead of that album and tour.
Year after year, we change the format of the end-of-year OTU round-up (routine is boring), and this year I’ve opted for a forward-looking feature rather than reflecting on what was a rather disappointing year in the music world. Many are desperate to have their tastes for 2013 dictated to them by either the BBC Sound of 2013 or MTV’s Brand New for 2013, but the interesting thing is we’ve been championing some of the acts they’ve thrust upon you this past week for quite some time. The rest of them we probably don’t care about.
So, here’s a chance to get clued up with some genuine upcoming talents that I expect to release more fantastic material this year and break through that next barrier of success, whether it’s into mainstream consciousness or slightly wider underground appreciation. Note that I didn’t say commercial success. Whilst some will certainly find that and it is a facet of their potential growth this year, it’s far from essential, and each selection here deserves to be so on quality and potential more than anything. Regular reader or not, you’ll have heard of several of these selections before and be assured those acts are here on merit, not because a label asked us to do so; something the aforementioned 2013 ‘predictions’ from the mainstream outlets can’t honestly claim. Let’s go. → Continue Reading
Toro’s impressive string of releases continues with the follow-up to So Many Details, both of which are taken from the Anything In Return album, due out 22nd January. Two for two, as this single is every bit as likeable as the first, and a significantly more positive and upbeat effort than it too.
That vibe emanates predominantly from the production, which combines verses of perky synths and head-nodding melodies with a fantastically funky bass and vocal sample driven hook, both underpinned by a nicely paced percussion that keeps the energy rolling. Toro’s vocals are airy enough to blend well with the synth work, whilst being soft enough to prevent overshadowing the beat too heavily, and the combination of the two makes for a fantastic listen.
The video is a direction most wouldn’t expect of this type of track, yet is exactly what you’d expect from the creative mind of Chaz Bundick, with shots of rather glorious landscapes making up the bulk of the footage, and Toro himself being placed within them in his geek chic attire as he cuts some brilliantly awkward dance moves. A clip that adds plenty to the atmosphere of the audio, and another superb audiovisual from Toro.
Toro’s been one of those acts in that grey area between underground and mainstream success for quite some time, and with this single he looks ready for an assault on the mainstream side of things.
Far more accessible than some of the more experimental works that litter his back catalogue, the remix to this track surfaced a little over a month ago to a good response, and rightfully the original single gets a push on the back of that. As stated in the remix review, there’s a pop undercurrent that gives this song a great deal of structure and solidity, with Toro’s emotional vocal layer keeping the electronic, semi-experimental backdrop in check, and capitalising on the atmosphere it creates excellently.
The video gives Toro some much-needed face time, whilst the progressively more colourful, busy environments throughout combine well with the increasingly frenetic production. Also notable is the slow deterioration of the relationship between Toro and his accompaniment, who become seemingly less enamoured with one another to the point of near-desperate expressions. Potentially, this could be a very popular single for Toro; either way, it’s a likeable audiovisual that’s worth a go.
Toro’s worked with the OFWGKTA clan a couple of times in the past (most recently here), and here he enlists one of the group’s most prolific and improved MC’s of the last 12 months to come through with a remix.
Toro’s production work is first class here, and it’s clear why this is a single before Hodgy’s even touched it. There are atmospheric notes, sharp and lively elements and a set of uplifting synths that combine for a positive beat with excellent depth and superb layering. The likeable vocal work has a strong pop influence and that injects itself into the production slightly, giving the track a much wider appeal than Toro’s usual experimental works, and also adds a sense of structure and direction, one which allows for a smooth segue into the excellent Hodgy verse. His delivery varies between high-speed and slower annunciation, and he’s clearly very comfortable in both styles, capping off what is an enjoyable all-rounder that could make an impact in mainstream circles.
Producer Toro has previously remixed some of Tyler’s works, and the Odd Future gang let their official coming together loose, an unfinished track from the vaults.
It’s a summery effort, with a perky, upbeat production that packs in hip-hop drums, synths with more lightness than hotel lobby music, and some scratched up samples for an excellent production. It’s laidback enough to work in a relaxing capacity, but with enough punch to ensure you don’t get bored listening to it, and whilst at times the beat’s structure seems to break down a little, that’s easily chalked up to the unfinished nature of the track. Tyler’s monotone delivery is decent enough here, and though his complete lack of emotion doesn’t quite utilise the beat in the best way, it’s the uniqueness of his approach that makes for an entertaining listen. Pretty solid track all-round, and it’s a shame it probably won’t get finished.
Undoubtedly the man of the moment in hip-hop, Tyler’s track French was originally featured on his 2009 debut solo album Bastards. With his sharp rise to prominence, many remixes are beginning to emerge and this one twists the industrial, gritty production of the original into a more electronic style.
It’s a pretty solid remix, with the somewhat lighter production being far less ominous than the original, and hence will probably make for easier listening to those unconvinced or unaccustomed to Tyler/Odd Future’s beat selections. The original production also complimented the ‘shock factor’ of the lyrics with its blunted tones, whereas this remix downplays that aspect and instead makes it into one where the lyrics are projected slightly differently. I’m not sure I prefer it to the original, but it’s certainly more accessible to the wider audience, and worth checking out either way. Click here for Yonkers.