Chaz Bundick, who goes by the name Chaz Bear and performs as Toro y Moi, is going to do what he feels. In preparation for his Tiny Desk concert, we were given two possible sound scenarios: aim to recreate the heavily electronic and lustrous aura that birthed his latest LP, Outer Peace or strip away the bells and whistles for an acoustic performance. The game-time decision was the latter and fans were treated to brand new iterations of these songs.
Toro y Moi’s discography conveys that same unpredictability and showcases his affinity for a wide span of genres. While largely known as an early pioneer of chillwave, Outer Peace is anything but. It’s hard-hitting, funky and directly to the point, as is this Tiny Desk concert. Stripping down such heavily produced songs could risk revealing weaknesses. In this case, the rhythms move just the same. Removing the Auto-Tune, synths and effects make way for some insightful songwriting that’s often hard to hear in the recorded version.
”Life is only wishing we could load it
Level up, you’ve got to make a bonus
Mystic staring at his phone for oneness
Silver or black mirror, what’s the difference?”
With shaker in tow, Bear sat front and center at a stool to deliver four of my favorites from Outer Peace, including “Ordinary Pleasure,” with bongo assistance from Foots of Foot and Coles.
- “Laws of the Universe”
- “New House”
- “Ordinary Pleasure”
Chaz Bear: lead vocal; Andy Woodward: drums; Tony Ferraro: piano; Patrick Jeffords: bass; Foots: bongos, shaker
Producers: Bobby Carter, Morgan Noelle Smith; Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Audio Engineers: Josh Rogosin, James Willetts; Videographers: Morgan Noelle Smith, CJ Riculan, Beck Harlan, Bronson Arcuri; Photo: Claire Harbage/NPR