Recommended: Toby Gale – The Good Of The Night

Now is the time to reset any expectations one could possibly form around a release on recent Truancy Volume contributor Slugabed’s label; there’s been a new signing to his London-based, perpetually left-of-center Activia Benz gang. The Good Of The Night comes from young newcomer Toby Gale, also out of London. His public curriculum vita is brief enough: a short freshman effort on Tape Club Records, Starfruit, and a remix contributed to Kero Kero Bonito’s remix mixtape released in September, aside from a couple Soundcloud offerings that popped up two years ago. Anyone will know there’s been countless instances of strong round two’s, and this EP seems like another coming out party.

With the preceding material Slugabed has curated for his label in mind—vivid, up-tempo EP’s from Lockah & Taste Tester, 813, and ELOQ along with others —The Good Of The Night arrives as a lovely sore thumb. The most striking features within Gale’s latest is his sense of composition and pace. Moreover, there are forces at play that act in stark contrast to either the driving, crunk trap histrionics rampant in 2012 (but nevertheless the source material for a fledgling Activia Benz catalogue) or Lockah’s neon envisions. Gale’s palette tends to be colorful, sure, but track forms, elusive as they may be, usually lean towards jazz and are less taken up with a pluralist, hodgepodge sonic ethic like other Activia Benz releases. As such, these songs play like narcotics taken before bedtime—the soundtrack to nostalgic dreams. The Good Of The Night is spellbinding from the start, with the kaleidoscopic twinkles of “Floodlite” affording a proper introduction. Next comes “3 Up”, a track outstanding in it’s ability to affect emotionally, trotting along with lithe chords, also barely-there piano timbres and R&B extractions. Tempo is altered slightly on “From Now On In”, a track that evokes days of Zelda and Nintendo, as steady kicks bear the ingredients of a more anxious vibe. A description of the EP from the label boss is included in the press releases: “It’s a bit like when you ride the horse around at night time on Ocarina of Time and there’s no one around and you feel very blissful.” Only Gale knows the degree of intent towards these sounds and vibes, but a chunk of the EP (including “Air Bones” and “World 8”) does seem to elude to that very game—The Good Of The Night is better for this, no doubt.

The Good Of The Night was released November 10 on Activia Benz.

Michael Scala