There’s always been a tension between the real and the imagined in Toro y Moi’s music. Chaz Bundick rode the chillwave in 2010, concocting a sample-heavy sound that’s equally wistful and ecstatic. He started incorporating live instrumentation with his 2011 album Underneath The Pine, but the music still sounded divorced from time, like some lost funk masterpiece floating in space.
Almost all the previous wooziness is gone on What For?, Toro y Moi’s fourth album. Instead, Bundick went for psychedelic pop and breezy arrangements. His insecurities–growing older, losing touch, communication breakdowns–are laid bare. On “Buffalo,” the stop-and-start rhythm mimics Bundick’s own mindset. The R&B melody might sound like it was pieced together from some hazy imagination, but the emotions are very real. Download a Studio 1A version of “Buffalo” below.