Release Date: Nov 4, 2014
Record label: ADA
Genre(s): Electronic, House, Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Electronic, Alternative Dance, Left-Field House
After teasing us with bits of material under his dance moniker Les Sins since 2010, Chaz Bundick is finally ready to unleash his side-project's first full length, Michael, on his new imprint Company Records, in collaboration with Carpark Records. To say that the wait has been worth it would be a huge understatement; Michael may very well contain the best material Bundick has released throughout his already stellar career. Abandoning any semblance of chillwave completely, Les Sins portrays a freer, all-embracing and, quite frankly, supremely more fun Bundick.
He’s at it again. The always prolific Chaz Bundick is putting out a new release under another moniker – Les Sins. The material on Michael has been lying around for around two years, ever since Bundick recorded them in his home studio. And it’s only now that he has decided to throw them out there to the public, casual–like, because there’s plenty more where that came from… Bundick has come a long way from his early days as one of the founding fathers of chillwave.
The latest project from Toro y Moi’s Chaz Bundick sees him take on the moniker Les Sins, and even if you’ve never been a big Toro fan, it’s clear from the get go that this record has Bundick’s prints all over it. ‘Michael’ is an album that’s less of a side project and more of an extension of sounds Bundick has already played around with as Toro y Moi, taking all the pristine warbles and wobbles that made tracks like ‘Say That’ so infectious and then amplifying the beats to huge new levels. ‘Michael’ is Bundick going flat-out funky, and pairs of feet on dancefloors everywhere are about to become horrendously hypnotised and sweaty as a result.
Head here to submit your own review of this album. Toro Y Moi, aka Chaz Bundick, has traded in his chill, danceable sound for more upbeat, definitive dance music on Michael, the debut album from his electronic side project Les Sins. The record marks the first release on Company Records, a new collaboration between Bundick and his current label Carpark.
Most people know Chaz Bundick as chillwave survivor Toro Y Moi. Les Sins is his dance-music side project, and this new material has little connection to his dream-pop roots. While his work as Toro Y Moi has become more house-influenced, his debut Les Sins release reveals a talent his previous work only hinted at: a much tougher and more club-friendly side.
Since the release of his last Toro Y Moi album, 2013’s ‘Anything In Return’, Chaz Bundick has been cooped up in his home studio working on a side project. Inspired by the mechanics of dance music and cartoon and film soundtracks, the 27-year-old Californian’s debut as Les Sins has a different pulse to the bleep-filled bliss of his main outlet. ‘Michael’’s 11 tracks pack grooves galore: from the ominous ‘Toy’ and the funky Daft Punkisms of ‘Bother’ and ‘Bellow’, to the trance ecstasy of ‘Call’ and the laid-back hooks of ‘Sticky’.
In his main band Toro y Moi, Chaz Bundick has always incorporated dance music elements, a little woozy funk here, a little wobbly disco there. With his Les Sins side project, he dives headfirst into crafting dancefloor-friendly jams that will get feet moving, but still have plenty of clouds in the mix. On his debut album under the name, 2014's Michael, Bundick brings the same sleepy, dreamlike nature that informs Toro y Moi, but here he adds it like a spice instead of building the songs around it.
Like his contemporary—and occasional label boss—Dan Snaith, Chaz Bundick is a curious and intellectual pop craftsman whose heart can’t help but push him toward the dancefloor. As part of the chillwave vanguard making blurry, wistful electronic pop at the tail end of the '00s, he wrote songs like “Blessa” and “Talamak” under the name Toro y Moi, staining slow-motion house party jams with young adult angst; even as he graduated to more cosmopolitan, mature songwriting with follow-up efforts Underneath the Pine and Anything in Return, his interest in danceable music lingered, and he refracted it through the prisms of funk (like on the winning "Still Sound") and R&B. While his star continued to rise, he quietly released a handful of singles under the name Les Sins, pulling from the sounds of French touch and British bass music on songs like "Lina".
Credit where it’s due: Toro Y Moi’s Chaz Bundick isn’t satisfied to just keep churning out chillwave hits for the same indie crowd that swooned over his debut album Causers of This four years ago. He wants to evolve and create something different, remove himself from any pigeonhole he may feel he’s fallen into; that’s really what new project Les Sins is all about. For Bundick, Les Sins isn’t a safe retreat from his successful main project, nor an easy place to land; it’s a fresh start, something that’s open to interpretation, modifiable, and, more than anything, an experiment.
Working under the name of Toro Y Moi, Californian Chaz Bundick has released three albums, each one progressively more dancefloor-friendly than the last. It began with 2010’s Causers Of This – one of the defining releases of the ‘chillwave’ movement; he followed that with 2011’s Underneath The Pine, which broke up its more psychedelic moments with a pair of undeniable floorfillers in the form of New Beat and Still Sound; 2013’s Anything In Return, meanwhile, embraced pounding drums and euphoric synths on tracks like Harm In Change and Say That. Now comes Michael, the debut full-length by Les Sins, Bundick’s dance music project.
Chaz Bundick, best known for his chillwave exploits as Toro y Moi, looked toward graphic designer P. Rand for inspiration leading into the two-year creation process of his debut full-length as Les Sins, Michael. Although his success under the Toro Y Moi moniker was fueled by artistic innovation and eclectic genre-blurring explorations of soul and R&B, the direction, pulled from a Rand quote, is much less profound: “Don’t try to be original, just try to be good.” The results are just that — good.
opinion byAUSTIN REED Though I rarely vocalize it, I involuntarily ask myself the same exact question every time I hear better-than-average new music: Are the artists responsible mindful of how good their product is? It gets at me probably a little more than it should, because it’s impossible to know the answer. I don’t know these people personally to ask them, and even if I did, I wouldn’t believe them. Any answer that wasn’t, “Yes.
Or, as you might call it, Chillwave Exit Strategies: Volume 1. After three albums released as Toro Y Moi, South Carolina’s Chaz Bundick has flipped pseudonyms and reappeared as Les Sins. His debut album follows on the heels of past 12-inches on Carpark and Dan ‘Caribou’ Snaith’s Jiaolong label, and perhaps the choice of the latter is instructive.