toro y moi is searching for ‘outer peace’

January 23, 2019

There is no disconnect. There is no power off button. Our lives are constantly connected and plugged in. What we’re plugged into is work. Our lives are crafted around our ability to create content. Experiences must be content. Mistakes must be inspirational memes. Our imaginations must be projects. Our lives, as little artists and movers-and-shakers, are molded by our ability to produce things.

Toro Y Moi’s album cover for his latest album “Outer Peace” portrays this desire for homeostasis perfectly. He’s pictured in a hyper-modern, bordering futurist in front of a computer and on a bounce ball instead of an office chair. The room is as psychedelic and cathartic as it looks function. He’s surrounded by technology as the room looks like how one would imagine life in a lava lamp would be. These images also express the musical goal of Toro Y Moi on “Outer Peace” too.

On the first single called “Freelance,” Chaz Bear, whose vocals are stronger than ever, croons, “Life is only wishing we could load it.” He delivers this message in a modern, atmospheric room while looking into the camera. In eight words he created the slogan that could easily define the next three generations and our relationship with the world around it, our bodies, and even our mortality. Isn’t the biggest goal of technology really to one day be able to make it so death is obsolete as whatever phone you had before the one that’s in your hand a decade ago?

The electronica-funk of the album is smooth, relaxed but always bubbling. Like a duck in lake whose feet are ferociously moving yet appearing graceful and calm on the surface. Toro Y Moi’s “Outer Peace” captures the electric exhaustion that is born out of living a life that never ends, that never takes time to self-reflect instead of self-exploit. The music’s awareness of this situation births sinister sexy electric-trap moments like “Monte Carlo” that finds his cadence mimicking those of the second wave trap era like Migos and Lil Uzi Vert. “Miss Me” is a collaboration with Abra, that finds the songstress slithering and seducing over cosmic production as she playfully teases synths with her falsetto.

Between the trap-braggadocio and the sensual cosmic lullabies, the thread between “Outer Peace” thematically and music is that we’re all computers that never quite shut down. Perhaps, we go into standby mode every night, but we never shut down, power off, log off, unplug. We just send invoices and make love to remind ourselves that having a body isn’t a total inconvenience between yourself and doing more work; it can be a place of pleasure. But for now — at least this is what I’m gathering from Toro Y Moi — we must confront the internet’s inner demons with a commitment to creating outer peace. And as Toro Y Moi hums on “New House”, that’s “Something I can not buy. Something I can’t afford.”