Space Solo 1


This is Rafael Toral's 11th release, the first for the Quecksilber label, and another continuation of his "Space Program." After 15+ years of accomplished work on guitar and electronics, the Portuguese musician, producer and sound engineer announced that he was to embark on a long-term project, which was to be a multi-faceted work-in-progress representing his new approach to music. With the release of the first album of the program, the eponymous Space, he managed to disrupt the notions of avant-garde music, choosing to focus on "single sound events." The sounds are generated by self-devised electronic equipment set into action by the performance of gestures, by bodily action (take a look at the video samples of the "Space Study 1" on his web site, where he "plays" glove-controlled computer sinewaves). Thus, the music is created by individual decisions in real time -- just like in jazz, as Toral emphasizes. So basically, this is electronic music played with a jazz sensibility. Toral brings a performative aspect to electronic music that it often sorely lacks. The initial album Space is like a roadmap, accompanied by three distinct serieses: the performance series "Space Studies" (which started in 2004), and the record series "Space Elements" and "Solo Series." The latter are unaccompanied real-time solo recordings on one instrument only (as opposed to "Space Elements," where Toral collaborates with other musicians). The present CD is the first in that series and the second materialization of the program. Whereas Space featured an orchestral approach to composition (and thus a diversity of elements), Space Solo 1 presents the listener with music that is narrowed down almost to a point: everything is concentrated on a single element. The key feature of this music is that it was performed with a degree of skill, a commitment and a depth of exploration that could not be found on an orchestral record. On this album, Toral appears as a musician who simply plays an instrument on an individual, human and physical level. One cannot help but notice that Toral is opening up a new dimension in music -- and maybe also in language. Welcome to a new mode of expression.