He’s at it again. The always prolific Chaz Bundick is putting out a new release under another moniker – Les Sins. The material on Michael has been lying around for around two years, ever since Bundick recorded them in his home studio. And it’s only now that he has decided to throw them out there to the public, casual–like, because there’s plenty more where that came from…
Bundick has come a long way from his early days as one of the founding fathers of chillwave. He has travelled many roads since then, dabbling in the timbres and textures of House, Hip-Hop and 90s R&B – all of which can be seen on both 2013’s Anything In Return and in this latest LP .
Les Sins' Michael feels like a Toro Y Moi record. In fact, at times it seems like the material might well have been a series of musical sketches for Anything In Return; not in the sense that this stuff wasn't good enough to make the cut, rather because Michael seems to share similar vibes to AIR but oscillates between more extremes of the spectrum. The material would never have been able to sit comfortably in the groove-led environs of Anything In Return.
“Minato” is a case in point. It's a dark, deep house track, which really shows Bundick pushing into what is, for him at least, relatively uncharted territory. He pulls it off well – would you expect anything less? - “Minato” is unswervingly, uncompromisingly intense. Bundick can make some serious, straight-up house music. “Bother” begins as another ascetic house track: “Don't bother me, I'm working”, we're told. Just “don't bother”. But all this is all blown away by a sudden, ecstatic and unexpected epiphany, staged with vox synth and a prog-ish solo. Then we drop seamlessly back into the beat, as if nothing had happened.
While it's tracks like these which have caused everyone to refer to Les Sins as 'Toro Y Moi's dance project', Michael really isn't a collection of cuts designed for the Panorama Bar. It's clear that Bundick really isn't all that interested in making your regular four-to-the-floor dance-floor fillers (the album was inspired by cartoon and movie soundtracks, so... yeah). This is way more complex than that. It's not all flawless - “Call” sounds like a parody of aggressive house and bro-step - but despite this brief dip, the record trips effortlessly from sub-genre to sub-genre. “Sticky” is a mass of chattering samples of laughter and Parliament-style organ playing. “Why”, featuring Nate Salman, is an upbeat, radio-ready piece of funk-pop, “Bellow” channels the laid-back energy of trip-hop legend Nightmares On Wax, while “Do Right” has the mellow warmth of Nujabes.
If Michael is Chaz Bundick's guided tour of dance music, then he takes you to some unexpected but seriously interesting places.