Saturday, March 12, 2011

Underneath the Pine is an interesting experiment, but fails to live up to its predecessor

I was having a chat with my buddy the other day, and he introduced me to Toro Y Moi, the latest trailblazers in a type of music known as chillwave.

What is chillwave, you ask? Good question. I think the best way to explain it is like this: picture this scene.

It's Friday night, and you're in the car cruising down past all the hip clubs and bars with your buddies trying to find some place to land on, but everything looks so totally awesome you just can't decide.

You need a super cool soundtrack for this situation, right? I mean, every generation has had their music for this type of setting. If you were growing up in the 70s, it might be the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. If it's the early 90s, you might be jamming to Haddaway's "What is Love?"

But if we're talking present day, my friend, then you might very well be listening to Toro y Moi's Underneath the Pine.

Toro Y Moi, also known as Chazwick Bundick, generated waves last year with his debut, Causers of This. The spaced out electronic record received a groundswell of positive review and even garnered whispers of album of the year in some circles.

Does Underneath the Pine live up to those lofty standards? It won't take long to notice this record is a little different. The sound presented here is, generally, a very mellow and laid back sound. Each track is awash in a variety of electronic and synthesizer effects.

But don't make the mistake of thinking this is dance music or anything, it's more like chillout music. It's the perfect thing to put on as background music when you're hanging out with your buddies having a few beers, or driving down the road at night. Through it all, Bundick's vocals hazily drift through the mix. It even sounds a little stonerish at times.

My take on this record: I admire it for its aesthetic and I'd recommend you to give it a listen. You probably haven't heard much that's similar to Toro Y Moi, unless of course you've been listening to other bands within the same scene.The closest comparinson would be to imagine Jamiroqui combined with smooth electronica.

I don't think Underneath the Pine is that great of a record in and of itself, but I respect the idea behind it. I think it could provide the blueprint for much greater musical works that come along in the future. Or maybe it will prove to be nothing more than a slightly wigged out electronic record. But it's still worth giving it a listen, if for nothing else than to experience the vibe.

Score: 75/100

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