The launching show of Toivanen’s album Polarities took place at We Jazz festival at Savoy Theatre on 14 December 2013. On his poetic whole, Toivanen focuses on mapping the many sonic worlds of his instrument through carefully crafted compositions. To achieve this richness of timbre, Toivanen uses different preparations and electronic tools in addition to sticking to the traditional acoustic sound of the piano and the grand piano.
“The prepared piano often sounds rather percussive but I have endeavoured to explore the softer end of the spectrum and done my best to make these findings serve the melodic structures and the overall atmosphere”, Toivanen says. Magnets are used as preparations on the album, and another factor that distinguishes it from a standard solo piano recording is the fact that instead of drawing upon improvisation the music is composed through and through.
Understandably, performing the album live poses some challenges, and in the ideal concert situation Toivanen plays both the grand piano and the prepared piano. In a live setting, some of the pieces call for borrowing such techniques as sampling and looping from the realm of electronic music.