Berkeley's breakout artist Chaz Bundick, the man behind Toro y Moi, debuts his laid-back, experimental dance project Les Sins in San Francisco tonight with Nosaj Thing, Brogan Bentley and DJ Dials.
Bundick is promoting his Nov. 4 release “Michael,” his new LP on his own Company Records, an imprint of Carpark, and road-testing the Les Sins material with three weeks of North American touring.
Bundick says he went into his own little electronic world to record “Michael,” but tonight's live show at 1015 Folsom is about getting people dancing. “I don't want to be watched,” he says.
The graphic designer and chillwave transplant from South Carolina comes off super-humble, and modest, considering his extraordinarily original work.
Bundick, who moved to the Bay a few years ago, busted out as Toro y Moi in 2013 with his third LP “Anything in Return,” which hit No. 1 on the Billboard dance charts.
The overarching principle for recording Les Sins was, “Don't try to be original, just try to be good,” Bundick writes.
That path proved fruitful; “Michael” has both original and superb material.
Bundick's recent collaboration with Chromeo speaks volumes. An unashamed lover of R&B '80s revivalist party-rocking, his “Michael” is steeped in early rap and hip-hop, and finds the funky through-line between modern EDM and 40 years’ worth of synth-driven dance.
Bundick panders with golden piano melody and driving bass and abrades with abstract tracks such as “Drop” and “Past.” You could see DJ Shadow liking “Minato” – an all-instrumental, beats and samples sketch with a hard-driving edge and symphonic melody. A glorious, explosively spacey and virtuosic soft synth solo maxes out the back end of “Bother,” seemingly custom-built for a vape pen and a Laserium.
Clearly a net native with omnivorous taste, Bundick, 26, accesses vast swaths of the history of recorded Western music. And even though he has a proper music career, Bundick says he's keeping his options open. He started a design firm called Company Creative, similar to his label Company Records: “It's just more of a collective for me and bunch of other designers working on different publications, photo books, and poster series,” he says.
The Bay Area charms him, and he hopes to stick around. He adds, “That's the plan. It is pretty expensive here. It's like ridiculous. If I could make it work, I'd like to.”
IF YOU GO
with Nosaj Thing, Brogan Bentley and DJ Dials
Where: 1015 Folsom, 1015 Folsom St., S.F.
When: 10 p.m. Nov. 13
Contact: (415) 431-1200, www.1015.com