You last heard from our favorite ex-pat/compositional master Toby Tune on his captivating and immersive spoken word album as part of The Client Brothers on Costa Rica Stories – and like all the material we hear from Toby, it blew us away.
Now he’s back in his usual lane, delving deep into the world of complex and illustrative instrumental music. His most recent release is titled Flotation, and it is the kind of imaginative cinematic soundscape that we often seek and always find in his instrumental work.
HERE’S WHAT WE DUG MOST…
The album opens with Forest, and right away we’re tossed headfirst into lush strings and soaring melodies. It’s joined quickly by a modern beat that permeates the entirety of the track as it climbs and falls through complex arrangements, weaving through tense moments, gentle plateaus, and intense builds.
Walk This Way follows, with its punchy bass intro and minimalistic approach in its introduction. That catchy bass riff stays with us throughout, as it’s joined by a wide array of instrumentation, each flavor of synth getting its moment in the sun on this understated but energetic number.
This makes for a great transition into Moonbeams, an equally spacey and dreamy number. It feels relaxed but isn’t without intent, ramping up the intensity as the track ambles along. The wide, sweeping background instrumentation is a great vessel for the delicate and intentionally placed melodic lines, with plenty of room to breathe between each.
Bamboo is infused with tropical notes from every angle, from the acoustic percussion to the track-leading woodwinds. The more complex rhythms work as a great complement to the straightforward melody that repeats itself across the track. A string section makes an appearance later on for added drama, but overall this is a mellow, textured stroll (through the Costa Rican rainforest, perhaps?)
Another standout on this project is Windy Day – a touch more dramatic than its name would make it seem. This has more “eye of the hurricane” vibes than just a casual Sunday outing. But the effect is the same with its ethereal instrumentation and haunting timbre, creating a feeling of both awe and trepidation. And for the record, if you’re looking for something that does have those “casual Sunday outing” vibes, On The Town is where you’ll find it. A light modern jazz piece, its bouncy melody and upbeat rhythm make this the soundtrack for a particularly classy good time.
We also love the harder edge in Road Trip, bringing in a rock undertone with its driving drum beat and strong guitars. Even the strings that join them are uncharacteristically influenced by their energy, hitting harder and incorporating more percussive notes in order to stand up to the rest of this track’s intensity. The ending is appropriately abrupt, and – like nearly all of the tracks on this album – leaves you wanting just a little bit more.
OUR FAVORITE TRACK…
A Walk In The Park is so successful because after listening to it, you’d likely end up with the title image in your head regardless of what it’s called. It’s a beautiful, spirited, and easygoing number that feels sunnier at each melodic change. Combine this with a gentle rhythm in the back seat and a forward inclusion of strings underneath the keys and ever-bright acoustic guitar, and it’s a warm day in a gorgeous green landscape in sonic form.
Toby has mentioned to us that he’s envisioned his work making its way to the silver screen, and truthfully we couldn’t think of a more fitting place for it to be showcased. Toby Tune is a true master of the evocative instrumental, painting full scenes with sound alone and making it effortless to get lost inside his work. It never seems possible for his compositions to improve – each album feels like a peak performance – and yet Flotation still may be his finest project yet. For those looking for powerful, transformative music to accompany a film, or those just looking to surround themselves with instrumentals that are as dynamic as they are enrapturing, Flotation is for you.
BELOW: Listen to Flotation by Toby Tune and connect with his website and social media platforms. Please support Toby Tune by visiting him online, and playing, downloading, and/or purchasing his music, or attending a live show! And, as always, thank you for supporting real music!
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