David Toma only recently decided to take a stab at making electronic music even though he has been playing piano for the last 10 years and started writing music at the age of 12. Even if I didn’t disclose this information and you just listened to the music you would probably say to yourself “Oh this guy sure has a lot of piano parts in it for electronic music.” For better or worse the central focus of the songs on his album Analog seem to revolve around the piano. While the bells and whistles that he added can be fun at times I wouldn’t have minded just listening to the piano by itself.
Toma is at his best when he sticking to components that sound electronic as we see in “Unleashed” which takes space rock sounding keyboard that sounds like a guitar. The song does what a lot of other good other electronic does and creates atmospheres and sounds that form with each other and start to sound bigger than the sum of their parts. Other songs don't work as well when he mixes an organic sounding piano with electronic drum sets like on “The Ban Hammer.” The piano parts are impressive to say the least but don't meld with the repetitive electronic loops.
The album starts with “Influx” a song that combines a heavy lead synth line with piano. It’s a solid song and starts to come together more as it progresses. The second song “Analog” seemed off time and not in a good way. I didn’t sync it up to a metronome or anything but it felt half a beat off at times. “Some Assembly Required” is one of the highlights on the album as it interweaves multiple parts and showcases some of his best writing, playing and programming on the album. The mix even seemed to work better. Everything seemed to be in the right place and he did a good job picking out the right palette of sounds. Another song that isn't too shabby is “Massive.” The song is full of bright skinny lead synths that penetrate through the crystallized pads - a hyper real journey that loves to exaggerate your emotions.
As a piano player Toma is excellent. As an electronic composer he is solid but still has some improvements that can be made. A lot of the beats sound like they were used from a preset that you have heard before. Even though he can’t hang with the best the genre has to offer right now he only starting making this type of music in 2012. He has an ample of amount of time to refine his skills and build upon the solid foundation he has formed.
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