Violence of Discovery And Calm of A by Rafael Toral - Touch [TO48] FLAC download included with physical items

Violence of Discovery And Calm of A

A 10 track ambient album (50m 8s) — released July 16th 2001 on Touch

RE-ISSUE Considered by the Chicago Reader to be 'one of the most gifted and innovative guitarists of the decade', Rafael Toral has been developing in the last 15 years a unique sound world, having been as influenced by Alvin Lucier and Brian Eno as by Sonic Youth and My Bloody Valentine. Using the guitar as part of a complex electronic instrument, Toral has collaborated with Jim O'Rourke, John Zorn, Sonic Youth, Rhys Chatham and Phill Niblock and played in many European countries and in several states in the US. He's also a member of MIMEO, the electronic orchestra featuring Keith Rowe, Christian Fennesz, Peter Rehberg, Kaffe Matthews and many others. VDCA is a collection of ten small pieces crafted by Toral with extreme precision and care through the last seven years. Using guitars and analogue technology, it can be described as Toral's best work, embodying all the directions he explored in his previous critically acclaimed records, 'Sound Mind Sound Body' [Moikai, USA], 'Wave Field' [dexter's cigar/drag city, USA] and 'Aeriola Frequency' [Perdition Plastics, USA] but taking them into new dimensions. LEE RANALDO: I think the most interesting thing about Raphael is that he lives out on the end of the world, which is about how isolated Portugal is, even for the rest of Europe, and that he has managed to forge some sort of interest and trajectory for himself in the esoteric realm of 'new' music. He's a young man forging ideas out of what he has heard and read about, and has a good set of ears and knows what he's listening to. (He's) rather scientific in his approach... JIM O'ROURKE: Rafael is a really good guy with a good ear, I think, and a sense of timing and density that is a luxury to find. He is a swell, honest person too. This is his first album for Touch. The highly evocative intricate and subtle guitar drones are captured in the beautiful photography of Heitor Alvelos, a Portuguese artist, and in the artwork of Jon Wozencroft. The album was recorded between 1993 and 2000 and mastered at Noise Precision, Lisbon.'

Packaged in an oversize sleeve with stunning imagery by photographer Heitor Alvelos (with art direction by Jon Wozencroft, of course), the latest CD by Portuguese artist Rafael Toral is a wonder to behold. Each of the ten tracks on this disc uses only the sounds from electric guitars (he catalogues them in the liner notes), with the exception of the final track, where the background noise is taken from "a recording of silence during a Space Shuttle mission real time webcast". Delicate shifts and shifting drones in each of these relatively short tracks create some wonderful atmospheres. Toral has an undeniable talent for creating self-contained moods and textures; each track is unique, developing in its own rhythm and direction, yet at the same time each carries Toral's singular voice. The guitar only rarely sounds like a guitar, as in "Optical Flow", or in the strumming of the closing piece "Mixed States Uncoded". Instead, Toral's art rests in the transformations of his sound source; roughness is transformed into gentility, a chord is transformed into a stunning drone. Silence and sound interact in these pieces to great effect; the listener treasures the continuous ebb and flow of this wondrous music. Highly recommended - Richard di Santo Incursion

They come along nearly every other week: abstract solo-guitar records, full of electronic atmospheres, ambiguous tonality and titles like Measurement of Noise. But this album has a quality all its own: a gorgeous sensual timbre that hardly depends upon any conventional harmony, melody or pulse at all. The sound flows slowly from one grandiose texture to another. There's little of the violence promised by the title, other than the damage done to your preconceptions of what an electric guitar should sound like. The sustained opening of Quiet Mind sounds something like an enormous, distant choir; Optical Flow, for 12-string guitar, conjures the spectre of an underwater harp (or a child's musical bath toy). Toral crafted these electroacoustic miniatures between 1993 and 2000, using electric guitars and analogue technology. In his hands, the sonic debris customarily associated with distorted electric guitars is somehow rendered warm and comforting. Some pieces, like Energy Flow, come across at first like long drones, but they are the kind of drones that contain a plenty of detail and movement. Other pieces are like little studies for a particular noise, explorations of an instrument's idiosyncrasies within a narrow sound-frame. The final track, Mixed States Encoded, boasts "a recording of silence during a Space Shuttle real time webcast", but the guitar part is dangerously close to slack, indie-rock noodling. Toral sounds much happier when there are no chord sequences or rhythms to get in the way of the possibilities for overtones and sustained sound offered by his guitar collection. - John L. Walters The Guardian

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