The electroacoustic chamber group NakedEye Ensemble, based in Lancaster, Pennsylvannia, includes electric guitar, saxophone, flute, cello, electric bass, percussion, piano, and often toy piano. The ensemble walks a line between experimental classical music, avant jazz, and classic rock. On Toy, NakedEye’s sophomore album, artistic director Ju-Ping Song brings her position as toy pianist to the fore, in both solo and ensemble contexts. As a showcase for an instrument that is often underestimated or typecast, this album is superbly curated and concentrates on what the toy piano does best. The frenetic energy of Jan Fedderson’s Ujoforyt demonstrates the instrument’s capacity for virtuosity, while the two-part-invention–like duets with the electric guitar in Richard Belcastro’s Knock ’Em Back shows its unique melodic and timbral capabilities.

Throughout its ten-year history, NakedEye Ensemble has regularly commissioned new works, and has included on this album one by Erik Griswold, an Australian composer known for, among other things, his contributions to the toy-piano repertoire. His triptych Gossamer Wings, based on a Cole Porter line, progresses from the warm energy of “Spinning” to the mischievous “Suspended,” then to the deeply satisfying groove-based “Moon Dancing.” Babbling Tower To Tower by Rusty Banks, a long-time composer–collaborator of the ensemble, is a solo work for toy piano that bridges the acoustic and the electroacoustic through the use of cell phones. Toy is an ear-warming listen from an energetic and sophisticated ensemble