This has been a banner month for celebrating new releases from some of our all-time favorite artists here at The Ark, and we’re continuing that trend today. Ex-pat Toby Tune is well-known for his complex and inviting instrumental productions that have been gracing the pages of The Ark since 2016. This year Toby is back with another full-length album that adds to his total of 14 releases over the course of his career. His newest project Layers of Light is built on a combination of organic and digital sounds, creating a delightfully textured listening experience that lives up to expectations and then some.
HERE’S WHAT WE DUG MOST…
Opening with Abstractions, we’re treated to dynamic percussion and a bouncy melody at the start. The arrangement creates feelings of intrigue, if not a bit of unsettledness, as we move through droning strings, spacey synths, and a bouncy bassline as the track progresses. It almost feels like several tracks blended together, each bringing their unique style and color to the mix.
This is followed by Ponderance, which opens with upbeat, scratchy guitar tones and dancing melodic percussion beneath. The modern drum beat kicks in quickly thereafter, contributing movement and robust energy to this mysterious, flowing track. The composition is deftly layered, with plenty of different rhythms and instruments playing against each other, and yet it never feels overcrowded. Each element is allowed to shine individually, making this extremely digestible and easy to listen to.
There’s high-octane intensity on display in Pulsar. Droning, otherworldly synths and horror-movie-esque elements create definitive uncertainty as the track takes the listener through a variety of unpredictable and attention-holding soundscapes. This could easily be the music beneath the tension-building scene before an epic sci-fi battle; the perfect soundtrack to a edge of your seat space adventure.
We also love Daily Toil for its pure mournfulness and vulnerability that explodes into ominous intensity, as well as Strut for its infectious electronic energy, intricate string riffs, and endlessly catchy main melody.
Disturbance is no doubt a stand out on this collection of tracks. The gentle guitar intro starts out sunny and unassuming, but the addition of the strings quickly creates tension and unrest. It’s a subtle descent into something more chaotic, with dissonant bass tones and distant, crashing percussion making intermittent appearances to keep the listener on the edge of their seat. Many of Toby’s arrangements feel like a definition of the track’s title, and this is a stellar example of that – it’s the musical representation of something just isn’t quite right… but what?
Toby Tune continues to prove himself a master of the instrumental arrangement. Very few can paint such full and inviting illustrations with no words at all – even fewer can capture and create intense emotions in the same breath. Toby manages to do both of these things at the highest level. Each new release from him continues to blow us away, and Layers of Light is no doubt one of his strongest releases to date. For anyone looking to fully immerse themselves in a world of movie-worthy compositions, this album is more than worth the listen.
BELOW: Listen to Layers of Light 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!
(Want to have your music reviewed on The Ark of Music? Click HERE.)