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Space Elements Vol. III . Rafael Toral


staubgold digital 12
2011. cd . dl

This is the third volume of the Space Program's Space Elements series. In this series, each volume features guests and is focused on a compositional function. The Space Program is a long-term project launched in 2004, for performing music with a post-free jazz mind-set but using strange sounds from electronic instruments. Playing physically, the body is involved in making decisions. The Space Program is about articulating silence and sound, structuring musical flow on experimental instruments with a simple and clear sonic identity.

"All these instruments are different but have a few things in common. The first is that they don't have a conventional interface, which means that for all of them I have to find out what they do and develop technique to play them", says Toral. "The second is that none of them respond accurately to performing action. So there's always a live tension between an accurate decision and its somewhat unpredictable outcome. I meant to play music technically free from any school and teachings, but beyond that I also wanted the music somehow to escape my own self, playing instruments with a sort of life of their own, never allowing complete control and making any repetition virtually impossible."

Dan Warburton's writing in The Wire about Space fits Space Elements Vol. III perfectly: "The melodic logic that drives certain instruments within 'Space' also recalls birdsong, with dense, convoluted runs of twittering melody ending in single piping notes, as spontaneous as Messiaen's birdsong transcriptions were painstaking and meticulous."


Rafael Toral

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.

Toral's music is a jazz-inspired reevaluation of live electronics: "Despite working in a sound world that is cosmetically closer to R2D2's vocabulary than Louis Armstrong's or John Coltrane's, Toral has claimed a kinship to jazz because it models instant music making within a disciplined framework" (Bill Meyer, Dusted); "Toral is looking for nothing less than a totally fresh language to work in" (The Wire).


Afonso Simoes: drums (1, 8); Riccardo Dillon Wanke: rhodes piano (2, 7, 8); Cesar Burago: maracas (2), tamborim (2, 6), shakers (2, 4), cowbell (3), claves (7); Tatsuya Nakatani: percussion (3); Victor Gama: acrux (4); Marco Franco: drums (5); Rafael Toral: electrode oscillator (1); modified MS-2 pocket amplifier feedback (2, 4, 6, 7, 8); glove-controlled computer sinewaves (2, 4, 6, 7, 8); delayed feedback empty circuit (2, 5, 6, 7); modified MT-10 portable amplifier (2, 3, 8); modulated noise (4, 6); modular synthesizer (4, 6), gong (6), tamtam (7).