Space . Rafael Toral
2006. cd . dl
Rafael Toral's "Space" marks a radical change in his music after 15+ years of accomplished work on guitar and electronics. "The future perspectives of my former approach to music were threatening to become a comfortable, formulaic 'modus operandi'. It would be against my nature to accept such a development, so I serenely decided to terminate it."
It took him three years to find his way into a complete renovation of his music: "For a new endeavor I needed new information, and I discovered that the field of knowledge in music that I had most to learn from was jazz. There is a long line of connections and fusions between jazz and electronic music, and I envisioned that a step beyond would not be more jazz with electronics, but on electronics." It may sound exaggerated, but this sounds like the blueprint for a new approach to both jazz and electronics with a single stroke.
In his emerging new conception of electronic music, Toral looks to the value of human performance while sharing values from jazz culture. His playing is "articulated with a kind of individual decision, a sense of phrasing and a sensibility to rhythm and form that have little in common with the types of electronic music we know". Quoting Sei Miguel, he says it's "not composed, not improvised, and not a compromise between the two".
In recent years, Rafael Toral has been developing and performing solo concerts on his instruments (modified or custom-built electronic devices) in a field of work he calls the "Space program". He slowly merged hours of live and studio recordings into "Space" (the program's first release), which is no less than a full orchestra of such instruments. The result suggests that the expression "space-jazz" was invented before the music it would describe best.
The "Space program" is a vast and ambitious undertaking, featuring two parallel series of record releases: "Space Elements" - centering each volume on a certain instrument, while adding few others and featuring collaborations; and the "Solo Series" - documenting solo performance on various instruments. The album "Space" belongs to none of the series. It is the "Space program's" fundamental release.
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.