Chasing Sonic Booms (1998)

“This is my first exposure to Toral, and the experience is an exciting one. This CD consists entirely of live improvisations recorded direct to tape – totally human music. Rafael is a very intriguing guitarist indeed.” (Opprobium)

Ecstatic Peace! (Northampton, MA, USA) E# 33 (CD, 1998)

Collaborations with Jim O’Rourke, Jane Henry, Manuel Mota, Waldo Riedl.
Rafael Toral plays guitar with electronics on all tracks (except 5, live loop electronics).
All tracks are improvisations with the musicians above or solo, recorded live.
Artwork by Kristin Anderson.
Images by NASA.


Number 1, WREK Radio’s top 30, 14 April 1988. (Atlanta, Georgia, USA)



notes from rafael toral

1. Blackbird
Lunar Cabaret, Chicago, USA 14 NOV 1995
Jim O’Rourke, accordion.
This delicate set was recorded a couple of days after Jim and i met for the first time. It was the last one from a concert we played at the Lunar Cabaret in Chicago (the weather was really cold). We were surprised (at least i was) with how little and quietly we played, after all the “noise” of that evening…

2. Skyrocket
c.u.b.a., Münster, Germany 30 SEP 1994
Jane Henry, violin.
While having some Dutch cheese with Jane at her place in Utrecht, i thought of inviting her to join me for a few sets after playing Wave Field in Münster. Back in New York, where i first met her, she introduced me to the best hamburger place in the world. This is part of the last tune we did, which would frequently be with a high energy level.

3. Concorde
Roulette, New York, USA 2 NOV 1995
Manuel Mota, prepared acoustic guitar, feedback.
Complex-textured guitar drones are Manuel’s specialty. He’s also Portuguese and we happened to be in town at the same time. My friend Morgan said we both looked like we were doing surgery to our guitars, while the room was full of gliding droney waves. Jim Staley helped us with the recording and it sounded great.

4. Aardvark
Lunar Cabaret, Chicago, USA 14 NOV 1995
Jim O’Rourke, piano, feedbacks, keyboard, electronics.
One of these moments you feel you’re on the edge of a razor blade and anything can happen in the next second. Electricity and adrenalin bursts were going on loud and fast. Jim was accurately unpredictable here. At some point i thought he was smashing the piano. It was special and intense, i was really glad to meet and play with him.

5. X-1 /Liveloop 3
WHPK Radio, Chicago, USA 15 OCT 1996
No Noise Reduction (which is Paulo Feliciano and me) did a series of live radio broadcasts called On Air. I became even more interested in live radio events after that and this piece here was my first solo broadcast. “A guitarless composition for guitar effects”, as Bill Meyer called it. Maureen, Jim and Adam were listening in the vinyl room and at some point the loop began sounding like a sci-fi flame-thrower.

6. Firebee Drone
MeX, Dortmund, Germany 29 SEP 1994
Waldo Riedl, accordion.
When i played Wave Field in Dortmund, i remember someone in the audience fell asleep, snoring heavily. My friends Jens and Waldo were there and Waldo ended up playing a few sets with me. His accordion doesn’t always respond to what he plays, that’s something we both enjoy. We also did a guitar minifan installation on that day.

7. Super Sabre
The Cooler, New York, USA 10 OCT 1994
Lee Ranaldo was curating a concert series at The Cooler and invited me to play on it. I thought there was some arrangement so that i’d play with some other musicians, but two days before the concert it turned out that i was supposed to play alone and would have to improvise. Doing it solo was new to me, it was a little scary. Lee believed i could make it. The room was packed (he played first), but when i got onstage, i knew it would be okay.

Chasing Sonic Booms CD (E#33). Third CD to by issued under his own name, from this improvising guitarist out of Portugal. Previous albums have showcased a stunning array of shimmering/ambient textures, while this disc explores his more explosive, improv-oriented side. It features a series of live improvisations performed in the US with the following guests: Jim O’Rourke (accordion, piano, feedbacks, keyboard, electronics), Jane Henry (violin), Manuel Mota (prepared acoustic guitar, feedback), Waldo Riedl (accordion).
Release notes on Forced Exposure