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3.4 out of 5 stars
5
Causers Of This [VINYL]
Format: Vinyl|Change
Price:£19.81+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

on 21 January 2012
Each year the so-called blogosphere picks a bunch of obscure musicians, assigns a title to them and thrusts them to the spotlight, in the hope of creating a movement.

With this in mind, I wasn't particularly excited about hearing what 'chillwave' had to offer. Nevertheless, Causers of This came highly recommended by a friend, so I gave it a listen - and man am I glad I did.

Rather than sounding like I'd expected it (a choppy mess of mundane choruses and brash synths), Causers of This is a remarkably intelligent piece. Carefully crafting samples into an elaborate sonic quilt, Chazwick Bundick's lyrics and vocals really add a sense of emotional connection to the production - a rare quality in today's music. Blessa, the opening track is a fantastic example of this, with it's recession aware lyrics 'I found a job, I do it fine - Not what I want, But still I try' and nostalgia tinged outro, it sets the pace well for what is a truly fascinating album.

Causers' true strong point comes from its many layers, which make repeat listenings exciting and enjoyable - every time you play it, you'll notice something new. Bundick's production is intelligent and discerning, with standout tracks Talamak, Low Shoulder and Lissoms. It's not your conventional lo-fi, neither is it exactly like the French House that Chaz was inspired by as a teen - instead it's something else, a nuanced blend of hip-hop and indie, of electronic and acoustic.

Ultimately, being tagged as a flagship chillwave producer could be Toro y Moi's downfall - when the blogs lose interest in chillwave, so too will they lose interest in Toro y Moi, adding an artificial shelf-life to what is actually a stunning piece of work. It's probably a wise awareness of this unfortunate reality that led sophomore effort Underneath The Pine away from the sample rich haze of its predecessor and into more conventional territory.

To be honest, looking past all the hype we still have very little solid information on what chillwave really is other than a buzzphrase, and where it's going - but one thing is for sure - if this is what chillwave is, long may it continue.
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VINE VOICEon 9 February 2010
Chaz Bundick, aka. Toro Y Moi, will be more than accustomed to the term "chillwave". Developing from American blogs, coining alternative terms ("glo-fi" being the most heavily used of these), the main instigators, carrying the term and the scene, are Memory Tapes, Washed Out and his South Carolina companion, Toro Y Moi. And with the scene being dismissed by commentators before it can get going, Bundick has been quick to distance himself from any criticism with a surprisingly diverse debut.

Any claims that the one-man project has latched on to an alluring bandwagon can be done away with by `Causers Of This'. Not only did Toro Y Moi begin nearly ten years back in 2001 as a "side-project" to then full-time band The Heist and The Accomplice but also in the present day, this former bedroom project explores genres that perhaps had more momentum in previous years; R `n B, House, and most notably, modern-day Dance.

This is such a varying, scatterbrain of a record and whilst that plays into Bundick's hands, it's also potentially a substantial downfall. It reduces the record's accessibility: Although the likes of Talamak and You Hid flux together with perfection, there are more unwelcome, unecessary arrivals; the chop-and-change Freak Love and the up-tempo, 90's house-scene-homage Low Shoulder. Both are invigorating listens in their own right, but each take something away from the flow of the album.

The core pace and the various rhythms floating amongst a hazy, ambient fuzz recite the party-scene of Justice's debut, an album where the tempo is rarely notched downwards, the intensity becoming close to unbearable. Bundick plays a smart move by occasionally switching off the drums and the drive entirely, giving way to nothing but a distant, indistinct abstract fog midway through Lissoms and allowing Minors to flutter out into a casual, slick exit after a relentless first two minutes.

The album's highlight, Blessa, is a more toned-down affair, with a reverb-sipping Bundick begging; "Come home in the summer, live a life that you miss". It's songs like these that you can imagine, with a little word-of-mouth, being able to develop into summer anthems, capable of defining the forthcoming months of 2010.

The "chillwave" phenomenon is visually associated with beaches, sunsets and young love. But more than anything `Causers Of This' places itself nicely into a run-down house-party environment. It's a more claustrophobic record than any of Bundick's contemporaries have produced, and it does a fine job of separating itself from almost everything else currently emerging, aiming towards a similar demographic of youngsters, seeking escape. Toro Y Moi puts intelligence and inventiveness into a youthful music genre dumbing itself down at an unduly early stage.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 17 March 2010
Chazwick Bundick (what an extraordinary name!) is a hippie.
A young man old before his time, looking backwards over
his shoulder and raking over the embers of the summer of love.

'Causers Of This' is not an unpleasant experience to listen to but
after a while I found myself wishing that something with just a
little more energy might come along to challenge the mid-paced,
densely textured washes of sound and monotonous beats.

Having found his groove, however, Mr Bundick seems disinclined
to look more than an inch or two beyond its boundaries.

There are moments where things become marginally more interesting.
The push-me-pull-you rhythm and cut and paste sonic inventions of
'Lissoms' have a certain dreamy soulful charm. The disembodied
harmonies add to the slightly uneasy feeling that the sand is
shifting under our toes and it ain't us what's moving it.
(Think Ron Underwood's fine 1990 film 'Tremors'!)

Mr Bundick's music put me in mind of Ramona Gonzalez'
(aka Nite Jewel) efforts on her debut album 'Good Evening'.
They share the same penchant for un-easy listening.

Our hero's voice is not the finest instrument truth-be-told.
A flimsy, tonally insecure falsetto whose inadequacies are
judiciously hidden by multi-tracking and lots of reverb.
'You Hid' demonstrates his limitations in a fairly scary way.

Of the eleven numbers in this collection there is little
to choose between one track and another. It's completely
inoffensive stuff but I found myself wondering what might
be the best context for it to be heard in : a log cabin in
the woods at midnight (probably not!); a picnic on the
beach at Walberswick in late August (possibly!); an evening
curled up on the sofa with a loved one (most definately not!)

At the last hurdle, title and final track 'Causers Of This' almost
catches fire but the album's formula has been so relentlessly
applied that I found myself powerless to burn along with it.

I'm sure this project will find some small place
for itself in the world but in my heart I know that
I will not be paying it another visit any time soon.
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on 20 May 2010
This South Carolinian may have come from the school of hard names (he's really called Chazwick Bundick - ouch!), but despite the hip-hop twinges evident herein, judging by this effort he certainly didn't come from the school of hard knocks. Indeed, his dreamy, spacious hip-pop has more moments in common with the like of Empire of the Sun and Phoenix, but avoids sounding derivative, even if it lacks thrust. Unfortunately, most of the groundwork of the first few tracks is laid to waste by a middle section (`Fax Shadow' on) which employs the kind of relentless in/out glitching that renders it virtually impossible to listen to. Note to Chazwick (and others): stop tripping over the mixing desk!

Choice Cuts: `Minors', `Imprint After'
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on 22 February 2011
Heard a lot about this album through different reviewers but after given it a good few listens found the album to be lacking in hooks,energy and also I found the meshed up beats and sampled vocals irratating at times,all in all not one memorable song on the album.
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