Space Elements Vol. I . Rafael Toral
2008. cd . dl
The Space Program is Rafael Toral's long-term research launched in 2004, through which he has unearthed an innovative approach and a complete re-thinking of how electronic music is conceived and experienced. Using custom experimental instruments, Toral performs electronic music concerned with "phrasing and swing", shaping strange melodies with physicality, movement and gesture in flux. The result is something you're unlikely to have heard before, a kind of alien electronic jazz. After the acclaimed, orchestral "Space" (staubgold 69 cd, 2006) and the following "Space Solo 1" (quecksilber 11 cd, 2007), this is the first volume of the Space Elements series, each release being focused on one kind of instruments, on small settings and including collaborations.
"Space Elements Vol. I" features Rute Praça (cello), Margarida Garcia (electric double-bass), Sei Miguel’s amazing percussionist César Burago, and David Toop (flute), besides a short appearance by Sei Miguel (pocket trumpet) himself.
From Toral's liner notes:
"Having found that jazz is the field of musical knowledge where disciplined decision-making is most developed, this music is more informed by jazz than by any other. The Space Program emphasizes articulating silence and sound, by structuring musical discourse on experimental instruments with a simple and clear sonic identity. To my surprise I found no historical precedents to this practice, being that it draws practically no information from electronic music history (which is grounded on different thinking patterns), and it draws very little from jazz history as well, since the instruments i use are inadequate to play any music based on the Western system. I regard this approach to jazz (meaning a system of individual decision-making from the standpoint of free-spectrum live electronics) as a new and exciting field of creative possibilities. I called it "post-free jazz electronic music".
Rafael Toral was considered in the 1990s "one of the most gifted and innovative guitarists of the decade" (Chicago Reader). He has collaborated with Jim O'Rourke, John Zorn, Alvin Lucier, Evan Parker, David Toop, Sonic Youth, Fennesz and many others, having played across Europe and the US, Canada and Japan. He's a member of the electronic orchestra MIMEO, alongside Keith Rowe and Peter Rehberg, and continues his long-term work with Sei Miguel.