Rafael Toral

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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. To this point, Toral has been known largely for his guitar work, which operated within a particular aural context. With Space, he’s divorced himself entirely from these former concerns, redefining himself as a musician with new instruments and new techniques. Space represents the sort of aesthetic shift that can mark an important moment in an artist’s career.

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. 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.”

The sounds are generated by self-devised electronic equipment set into action by the performance of gestures, by bodily action. Thus, the music is created by individual decisions in real time and Toral brings a performative aspect to electronic music that it often sorely lacks. Toral’s musical canvas is much like that of deep space, a monochrome field upon which smaller fragments twinkle and shine, and also – more than ever before – Toral is working with silence in his work, exploring the space between and around the music he makes, and making this void as much a part of the music as the sounds that are heard.

2 July 2008 – Auckland – Saint Paul St Gallery
with: Adam Willetts.

START: WED 2 JULY 2008, 12:00 PM