With each subsequent record, Bear revealed himself to be as prolific as diverse. From the space-age funk of 2011’s Underneath the Pine to the introspective, house-tinged pop and soul of 2013’s Anything in Return, to the ’70s radio gold influences percolating throughout 2015’s What For?, Bear consistently steered Toro y Moi in new directions while never sacrificing his melodic sensibility or keen ear for arrangements and texture. Although his most recent excursions – last year’s stunning concert film/album, Live from Trona (featuring an expanded line-up of Toro Y Moi’s touring group performing in the California desert), and his Star Stuff collaboration with jazz duo the Mattson 2 (just released in late March on Carpark sister label Company Records, which Bear runs) – were full-band affairs, his latest Toro Y Moi album is a much more personal outing.
Recorded and produced by Bear in Portland, Oregon, between March 2016 and March 2017, the spacious arrangements mirror the intimate, soft-hued pop of Boo Boo. Eschewing the traditional rock instrumentation of What For?, slow- pulsing neon synths and electronics are once again far more prevalent, with subtle ’80s influences finespun through his song craft. Throughout, Bear plays all of the instruments, with the exception of guest spots from Anthony Ferraro (a/k/a Astronauts, etc. and also Toro y Moi’s live keyboardist) and Madeline Kenney (Company Records recording artist). Toro y Moi’s most reflective album to date, the woozy contemplations and daydreams of Boo Boo point toward an idyllic path of catharsis for not only the listener, but for Chaz Bear himself.