13 tracks that balance a performance of fusion and funk elements tied with some gentle rock orchestrations makes for one of Toro y Moi’s most glorious displays.
The introductory track “The Medium” features Unknown Mortal Orchestra and of course, based on the inclusion of that specific feature, the chord progression becomes the name of the game. MAHAL especially has Toro y Moi’s Chaz Bear as a joy for the multi-instrumentalist. “The Medium” makes short work of being this flash and spin of speeding through deserts with isolation somehow maintaining itself through the rose-tinted circular glasses that Bear sports.
Always seeming to be adept at focusing an instrumental set-piece and maintaining prowess to the ears, MAHAL is a continuation of that. While no vocals are present on “The Medium,” Bear who covers the bass and keys on the record manipulates to be a beautiful shaman for his soundscape.
The perfect product, the perfect drug to the ears, MAHAL transitions into “Goes By So Fast” which features some saxophone and nearly resembles a King Krule undercut. Uses of space that reflect a rainy day while synths warp and become flustered against the acid jazz-based production, Toro y Moi here is a golden egg to cherish on MAHAL. Martin Perna on the saxophone and flute for the track “Goes By So Fast” is a quick stand out for the spotlight.
Infectious on instrumental planning here with MAHAL, the track “The Loop” was released as one of the singles for the record and instantly was on repeat. More of a jam band favorite if jam bands were loosely based on golden embers of speakers. “The Loop” has this funk bass line that immediately sparks the eyes and perks up the ears. Bear’s vocals over the mix are smooth and give enough of a tension release that euphoria is almost nearby here.
As Bear describes, “Oh my, where did the weekend go? Oh man, Monday snuck up so fast. No one keeps me in the loop when I kick back, guess it’s up to me to stay in the loop. East coast friends fill me in, I know you get the early scoop. Online trends that border cringe start to feel overused.”
One of the bigger surprises comes from the feature of The Mattson 2 on “Millennium.” The production here is drenched to the core in sunlight and begins to feel like a beacon to the audience. The rays of Vitamin D appear more clear with each note that passes and the falsetto vocals from Bear pair perfectly along with the reverbed synths.
Almost somber in the lyrical content, Bear explains, “Silver lining makes the perfect souvenir. With champagne dripping down from every chandelier. I know at times you wish you could just disappear, but maybe just tonight we’ll celebrate the year.”
After 40 minutes have passed, MAHAL gracefully bows out of the production and fades back into the distant, fading sunset. Stronger, wiser, and more approachable, MAHAL benchmarks a leap for Bear into this stratosphere of sequencing and emotional draw to friendship.