Chaz Bear (formerly Chaz Bundick), also known as Toro Y Moi, dropped his funk-forward new album Outer Peace on Friday off of Carpark Records. Outer Peace marks a shift for the musician/producer’s sound away from his previous chillwave albums. The new record is much more deconstructed compared to Toro Y Moi’s previous six albums. Outer Peace‘s sound nods to a range of contemporary hip-hop mixed with elements of funk, electronic dance, and ambient beats.
Bear describes Outer Peace as “a response to how disposable culture has become and how it affects creativity. While listening, you might pay attention or ignore, either way that’s OK, this is music for a creative mind.” The response is clear. He draws on many influences in contemporary music from all different genres, stating in one line on the album, “Imitation always gets a bad rap, man.” Influences bounce around on the record, floating between different genres.
“Growing up biracial, you learn to float between cultures, because it’s what you have to do to survive,” Chaz Bear said in an interview with Willamette Week. “One day you’re hanging with the Filipino family and then the black family the next day. When I got into the arts, I definitely became more aware of that. I wanted to make my thing, something that represents me.”
Bear holds up most of the songs on the 10-track album alone, but he brings in a few friends to feature such as ABRA, Wet, and Instupendo.
This album was a homecoming of sorts for Bear. He recorded this album after returning to his hometown in the Bay Area, after living in Portland for the last year.
Chaz Bear had a busy year. Not only was he prepping to release his own album under the Toro Y Moi moniker, but he also had his hand in several other releases such as Indie-rock artist Madeline Kenney’s Perfect Shapes. In an interview in 2015, Bear claimed he would “rather be a producer than an artist. Producers get credit for the sonic characteristics and the artist is mainly the image and the song. It’s nice to be associated with both, but most people don’t realize I’ve been doing the engineering and recording this whole time.” Thankfully, Chaz Bear has continued to do both. Over the years, Chaz Bear has been involved in several side projects such as Les Sins and Chaz Bundick Meets The Mattson 2.
Listen to “Outer Peace” in full on Spotify: