Tobisonics is the music project of Toby Davis, a longtime music producer, composer and writer based in Luxembourg. He’s used his creative vision and talents mixing, mastering or remixing other artists and bands’ music for some time, but more recently, has chosen to create his own solo works. For his first effort, released in December 2018, he teamed up with the theatrical, genre-bending Las Vegas-based duo Fans of Jimmy Century to re-imagine their modwave neo-noir song “Noirstar (Memories of His City)”, which he redubbed “Noirstar (Dark City Edition)”. Giving their song a cinematic synthscape treatment resulted in a dark and sexy track with a slightly menacing vibe that artfully conveys the sense of excitement, titillation and danger inherent in big city life. I wrote a review of the track, which you can read here. Now he returns with a brand new single “All These Things“, which I’ve chosen as my New Song of the Week.
He states that the song is a bit of a departure for him, as he usually works primarily with virtual instruments and midi, whereas this one is more loop-based and more pop. He provided some background for the song and his inspiration behind it, including an admission that he’s struggled with PTSD, chronic anxiety and depression for years, and only rediscovered music in his mid 30s. “I’d played in bands as a teenager, but hadn’t picked my guitar up for over 15 years. It’s like the depression drowned out the music in me. Once I started seeing a psychiatrist and taking anti-depressants, the music just flowed. I couldn’t have stopped it, if I’d wanted to. I’ve always been pretty open about my depression and anxiety. The reasons that lie beneath, I’m not so open about. I guess that’s where the music comes in.”
“‘All These Things’ explores a difficult subject matter, but remains a compelling piece of contemporary pop, painted in fiercely percussive tones and an ear-catching vocal hook. It begins as an apparently simple love song, painted in soulful tones and lo-fi beats. The infectious chorus ‘All these things I remember’ arrives early, perhaps nostalgic for a summer love. But as the track unfolds, a darker truth emerges, one that can not be forgotten nor easily escaped: ‘Nobody can stop me, I am running’.”
Tobisonics skillfully employs a colorful kaleidoscope of sultry keyboards, mesmerizing beats and a mix of glittery and spacey looped synths to create a lush and captivating soundscape. As the track progresses, the music becomes heavier and the mood darker, culminating in a stunning crescendo of swirling string synths in the bridge. The previous beat-driven tempo then returns along with the refrain “All these things I remember”, which continues through to the song’s end.
Regarding the bewitching female vocals, which sound to me a bit like an early Madonna, Tobisonics found the right vocals he desired and looped them. Unfortunately, under the terms of their use, he was not allowed to credit the vocalist.