MusicSummer of Blacker Love

toro y moi is the freelancer of our dreams

June 19, 2019

For a few days now, I’ve been racking my brain, trying to figure out how to describe Toro Y Moi. I thought “organic” might work, but that felt like a hipster throwaway. I dabbled with “natural,” but decided that would be unfair to the technological side of his music. I thought about “mature,” but didn’t want to dismiss his playful curiosity. I’ve landed on “simple,” after realizing it is not a bad word but actually the opposite. Listening to Toro Y Moi, I contemplate my existence, while joyfully moonwalking in my socks on hardwood floors. Deep thinking and self-reflection may not typically be described as “simple,” but the outcome of it is, so I stick to my word. A Toro Y Moi album translates to peace, a concept that continues to be overly complicated, but, at its core, is actually not.

How fitting for Outer Peace to be the name of Toro Y Moi’s latest album. Chaz Bundick, the man behind Toro Y Moi, describes the title as the process of being creative, which in his case has to do with balance. Chaz, you see, is well adjusted. He understands what it is that his audience loves about Toro and holds onto it, while simultaneously granting himself the room to evolve and “round the edges.” He roots himself in what he knows, and, once grounded, jets off with a curiosity for what is new, inviting the audience to the flight, and adjusting their/our seatbelts. 

To Chaz, Outer Peace is the human escape from a whirlwind of a world that leaves us in search of peace. His take? That humans find a peace within order, to hold ourselves in public. His use of technology is greater than the addicting sonic world he brings us into, doubling as a statement on technology: “We all present ourselves to be something, so technology is no better or worse than life itself.” I’m impressed by this take because it’s calmly fearless — my favorite type of bold. He doesn’t blame technology for today’s shortcomings nor does he overly celebrate it. Instead, Chaz digs deeper, understanding that technology is a tool to enhance human behavior, not distort or manipulate it. 

Toro’s gentleness is attractive. It has become increasingly difficult to find people who are gentle with themselves. Too many of us worry more about man-made careerist alarm-clocks, or getting it right for others without considering ourselves. Chaz is an artist who knows himself because he allows himself the pleasure. He is solution-oriented, appreciating that the job of an artist requires a lot of the word “I”; but instead of being swallowed up by that part of the job, gives himself  moments “off the grid,” to readjust and “add a vibration to life.” Chaz is a self-described Freelancer: his own boss, his own employee. I like an artist who can see himself for all that he is, but also respects the people around him, and works to find himself so that others can too. A “boss” and an “employee” — two more complicated yet simple words that fit Toro y Moi.

Toro Y Moi will play AFROPUNK Brooklyn 2019 this August. Hope to see you there.