When Chaz Bear (of Toro y Moi) offered to produce his next album, Tony began devising a collection of songs that would capitalize on the intersection of their sensibilities. The world had begun growing rapidly stranger, and he found his reference points shifting toward outsider music, Latin psychedelia, and the haunting orchestral arrangements of David Axelrod.
A new voice was coming out of Tony, taking cues from oracular crooners like Lee Hazlewood and Kevin Ayers and delivering cryptic messages pitched far below the falsetto that had come to characterize his sound. It would seem disjunctive if it wasn’t so natural; you can hear Tony finally stepping into himself as Bear’s production carries the songs onto a bizarre and timeless wavelength. Living in Symbol serves as the surreal coming-of-age diary of one weirdo floating through the ooze of the Information Age.