Live in Minneapolis, from a March 2011 summit at Franklin Art Works in Minneapolis, finds the talented drummer [Davu] Seru (best known for his long association with Milo Fine) proving a challenging, provocative accompanist to the increasingly enigmatic Toral, who has given up his guitar for an assortment of electronic sound generators including short-circuiting amplifier, oscillator, and feedback modifier). The incisive percussion moves Toral away from the looped tones and high resonance that has sometimes preoccupied him in recent years, inviting him into a more active, lively, not to say conversational approach to improvising, and to my ears it’s quite fresh. For all that, it’s spacious and the fine recording focuses on the tone-blending of Seru’s low toms (membranes adjusted just so) and the deftly controlled flatulence of Toral’s overdriven effects. On the second part of this three-part improvisation, there’s a ton of fine timbral and registral contrast from the drums and Toral responds by toying around with vocal effects, sometimes a bit desultory but mostly quite effective. And in the closing segment, there’s even a phase where the pair find themselves in a glorious space midway between morning birdsong and evening crickets.
by Jason Bivins