Release Date: Mar 31, 2017
Record label: Company Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
Chaz Bundick is a chameleon. Pioneering the chillwave epoch of the early 2010s under the moniker Toro y Moi, he's since tried his hand at funk, psychedelic rock, and even hip-hop. Now, shedding the stage name and any semblance of his pop heritage, he's teamed up with Californian jazz duo The Mattson 2 to deliver an expressive collection of fluid, vibrant psychedelia.
After making a concerted venture into more guitar-based rock with 2015's What For?, Chaz Bundick sheds his Toro y Moi moniker on this spacy, psychedelic collaboration with brother duo the Mattson 2. Appropriately billed as Chaz Bundick Meets the Mattson 2, Star Stuff is a true collaboration with a jammy, jazzy live feel that is heavy on retro sounds, effects, and vibes. Twin brothers Jared (guitar) and Jonathan (drums) Mattson lend their substantial chops to what is a predominantly instrumental affair, stretching out nimbly over the first two longform tracks, which together total about 11 minutes.
The Mattson 2 is a guitar/drum jazz duo composed of identical twins. In the past eight years, their studio works have been growing denser and more complex, while maintaining an intemporal quality. It's no surprise, then, that when the brothers met Chaz Bundick through a common acquaintance, they didn't know who the Toro Y Moi frontman was. They had been evolving in different circles, even though they had been cultivating a similar sensibility. Combining the Mattson 2's taste for exploration and Bundick's newfound interest in prog rock, the album Star Stuff was recorded with no rules and no set plans.
The first words we hear Chaz Bundick sing on his latest release are: "I think I've gone and lost my mind." But they don't so much set the tone for the record as reaffirm what's been made obvious. We're no less than three songs and 13 minutes in before we hear Bundick utter that introductory address--and all the psych-jazz jamming that preceded it already proved we're dealing with a wandering mind that does not want to be found. As Toro Y Moi, Bundick has always possessed the sort of voice that sounds like it could float off and dissolve into the ether at any moment.
For his new project, the ever-prolific Chaz Bundick, of Toro Y Moi fame, has teamed up with The Mattson 2, a duo of brothers that play freewheeling instrumental psych-rock. This full-length result is an indulgent set of psychedelic jam-band impulses and catchy stargazing ballads. The more pop-influenced songs, such as "JBS" and "Star Stuff," sound like The Big Lebowski soundtrack if it featured more Pink Floyd.
Even the most ardent fans of Toro Y Moi would have been forgiven for thinking that Chaz Bundick had settled into a comfort zone with his last full-length, 2015's 'What For?'. It was perfectly pretty, there were enough hooks and melodies, but there was a palpable lack of new ideas and in fact it was his broadly collaborative surprise mixtape 'Samantha', which followed in August of the same year, that felt like the more vital of the two releases. It was there that Chaz took genuine risks, Not all of them paid off, but his work with the likes of Washed Out and Nosaj Thing hinted at a genuine appetite for the breaking of new ground that was largely absent from the LP itself.