Listen Here – BandCamp
For one of the last motions of sunshine in soundscapes, Toro y Moi has been a treasure to follow and see growth within the past nearly 10 years since first discovery. Now with the latest venture MAHAL, the emotional draw couldn’t have been more warranted and necessary.
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.
Listen/Watch Here – Youtube
Directed by Dave Free + Kendrick Lamar
As George Harrison once stated profusely, “All things must pass,” and this is true also in the case of the good times. With Minor Threat’s final project, Salad Days is a fantastic send-off into the nether with a skeletal hand to shake.
The three-track EP barely stretches over seven minutes, but through careful and intricate performance, Salad Days are the beginnings of Fugazi’s foundation. The warning signs are there, not entirely basing the records sound in hardcore.
Instead, the three tracks here are “Stumped,” “Good Guys (Don’t Wear White),” which is a cover of The Standells track, and we have the finale of “Salad Days.” The title track leads the record off in a fiery burst of memories and nostalgia coming through the mosh pits and struggles for the microphone in the crowd.
Ian MacKaye on vocals takes Lyle Preslar on guitar, a meeting of the hands-on strings with Brian Baker on bass, and then finally Jeff Nelson on the percussion. Collectively, Salad Days is a perfected adventure through youth and the discovery of travel between performances.
The opening piece, “Salad Days” appears as the title track and works in some elements of extreme change in Minor Threat’s sound. The relation to hardcore and aggression isn’t completely gone, but the mixing is much cleaner and well defined. It resembles more of working toward the blurred lines of Fugazi and Minor Threat where the end is near, but the one-two stepping is still a factor.
Instrumentally, “Salad Days” as a track is energized and has this motion of tension in the first 20 seconds or so while the strings build and construct this pulsing method. Drums are slowly added and there are these chimes that become one of the most recognizable pieces of the track.
As MacKaye varies between shouts and spoken word, he illustrates, “Wishing for the days, when I first wore this suit. Baby has grown older, it’s no longer cute. Too many voices, they’ve made me mute.” While the golden years and good ol’ days are behind MacKaye in this setting.
The following piece, “Stumped” is a lumbering giant of a track that begins in a similar fashion to “Salad Days.” Orchestrating this crescendo of progression. Minor Threat in these instances are fascinating to see as a consciously shapeshifting group. From their earliest days of fast, breakneck speeds, to now with Salad Days as it appears that their entire discography changes to be wiser, more mature even.
Hard to imagine this would be the last release from the band, but as separation occurs; the heart grows fonder of what was to be. Never being alive when Minor Threat was an idea, Salad Days gives a fantastic final glimpse into the spirit of classic hardcore.
Listen Here – BandCamp
Artwork By: Sam Ryser