Toro Y Moi – Boo Boo

What makes some things seem worn and others vintage – perhaps the nostalgia that’s attached? On ‘Boo Boo’, Toro Y Moi draws from a wide array of ambient, 80’s-tinged sounds that play on the ear like freshly unearthed remnants of the past, and play on the mind like memories from within the same time capsule.

On CarPark Records’ website, Toro y Moi (AKA Chaz Bundick, AKA Chaz Bear after recently changing his name) explains that the idea of space within music played heavily into the philosophy of ‘Boo Boo’, and cites artists like Daft Punk, Frank Ocean and Travis Scott as creative influences. ‘I recognized that the common thread between these artists was their attention to a feeling of space’, he writes, ‘or lack thereof’.

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Surely enough, ‘spacious’ is an ideal word to describe this project. Beginning with ‘Mirage’, the opening track, we start sinking slowly into a large, cushy mattress of analog synths, with funky drum patterns acting as the box spring providing support. And, while the palette here is purposely limited, the amount of feeling Chaz is able to evoke while remaining within a narrow range of instruments and styles is impressive – from the off-kilter bounciness of ‘Inside My Head’ to the mournful slow-dance anthem that is ‘You and I’.

Toro Y Moi’s ‘Boo Boo’ sounds like the soundtrack to a 1980’s prom heard through the hazy filter of a present-day dream.

The track list here makes for a smooth ride from start to finish, with very few bumps in between. In that sense, it’s hard to point out any real low points, but true high points are a bit hard to come by as well. ‘You and I’, with its ultra-dreaminess and pop undertones, is certainly a stand out, as is ‘Windows’; but, ultimately, ‘Boo Boo’ is a bit lacking in terms of climax. However, even at its worst, the album is still rife with great mood music, and has the potential to be much more than that depending on the listener and the setting.

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On ‘Girl Like You’, Toro Y Moi sings the line, ‘I’ll take you where you wanna be tonight’. Taken out of the context of a ballad, this promise becomes an apt description of the immersive powers that the music of “Boo Boo” possesses. Because, despite the occasional long-windedness you may encounter on a listen through, ‘Boo Boo’ is an album that is overwhelmingly deft in creating mood, atmosphere and, of course, space.

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