Max Bell prefers to speak Flemish.
Kool Keith had Dr. Octagon (and Black Elvis and Dr. Doom and other names I’m forgetting). RZA had Bobby Digital. Mos Def has rechristened himself Yasiin Bey—I still call him Mos Def. And before there was MF Doom there was KMD’s Zev Love X. Basically, music, and rap music especially, is a great place for reinvention and multiple aliases.
New names, new side projects, or whatever all offer the prospect of artistic exploration and growth. Some are fail miserably (Lil Wayne and guitars). Others work well (post-N’Sync Timberlake up until that new Jay-Z record). But, more often than not, the results often fall somewhere in between. As listeners, we get some of what drew us to the artist in the first place, along with some stuff the artist is still sketching out (see Justin Vernon’s Gayngs record Relayted). So here’s to chillwave extraordinaire Chad Bundick A.K.A. Toro Y Moi, who had the foresight to name his side effort Les Sins, which literally translates (if my Google translate is on point) to “the drawings.”
Bundick’s first release under the Les Sins moniker—a 12” containing the tracks “Lina” and “Youth Gone” (both below the jump)—dropped all the way back in 2010. My guess is that you, like me, completely missed the release. I’m not apologizing, and neither should you. It’s the internet, and there was probably another MTV’s Hottest Rapper’s list out at the time.
The former, “Lina,” is pretty much a Toro Y Moi record on E at the roller disco. It’s sped up funk with a female vocal loop that Bundick would normally sing himself and beat that gets a little too techno for my tastes towards the end. “Youth Gone” is where the “drawings,” or sketching, title is more apt. It starts as an underwater horn loop chopped to shreds and builds to a slightly more tolerable frenetic funk twitch. Think Bundick trying to capture Thom Yorke dancing at said roller disco and you’ll have a good idea of what this sketch looks/sound like. I think.
There’ve been a few others since—the house influenced trap-flirtation “Fetch” and the up-tempo but still mellow seven-minute Euro-coffeehouse cut “Taken”—but Bundick’s latest Les Sins offerings, “Grind” and “Prelims,” feel the most fully fleshed out.
“Grind” is modern boogie in full effect, taking a page straight from the ambassador of all things boogie, Sir Dam-Funk. It’s a synth-heavy five minutes of bounce infused with Bundick’s pop-sensibilities that should be played during the next couples skate.
Though “Prelims” is still sort of in the modern-boogie vein, it has a little more of the ambient and nuanced chillwave(y) stuff you’d find on a Toro y Moi record. One might also say that the end gets a little trappy. Maybe a Low End Theory set is in Bundick’s future. I think it’s probably long overdue.
The official single drops March 18th on Caribou’s label Jiaolong. Until then, stream all of the Les Sins tracks below and watch/listen to Bundick’s solid Boiler Room set. It’s chill, but less than you’d think.