All music guide

This Japanese-only release is the follow-up to Toral’s 2003 Table of the Elements LP Harmonic Series 0 (what happened to number one, the story doesn’t say), the first installment in a series of recordings and performances documenting the Portuguese guitarist’s trade-in of his analog devices for a computer. The heart and soul of Harmonic Series 2 consists of computer generated sine waves. Listeners with an acute allergy to Sachiko M’s music should not click the “back” button too quickly, as Toral’s approach is a hundred times warmer, gentler and inviting. Yes, the piece starts on a single sine wave. Yes, most of it revolves around the careful placement of meticulously close sine waves in the left and right stereo channels to create aural effects. But it doesn’t end here. Toral adds layer upon layer of treated sine waves, along with guitar soundscapes and analog electronics. If the piece takes some time to take off, it eventually reaches a gorgeous state of flux where sine waves and guitars fuse into a single complex organism. It shimmers from all angles as it slowly revolves in front of our ears — like an irregular gem reflecting rays of light as it revolves on its display stool. When the piece simmers down two minutes before the end, it leaves a cruel empty space, a vacuum you feel compelled to fill up by hitting the “Play” button again. And yet this album is not particularly original or groundbreaking. But it holds an undeniable beauty and presents it with total control over sound quality, density and richness.
François Couture