Chicago Reader

Rafael Toral’s Wave Field (Moneyland, 1995) and Violence of Discovery and Calm of Acceptance (Touch, 2001) are two of the most gorgeous records of guitar music made in the past decade – and part of their beauty derives from how far they venture from the familiar language of the guitar. To create the surging ambient soundscapes of Wave Field, the Lisbon-born Toral ran the signal from his instrument through a battery of equalizers, filters, and other electronic effects, generating vivid tonal colors that flow as inexorably as lava. On Violence he’s refined and intensified this palette, assembling ten concise, vibrant new compositions from guitar textures that sometimes sound like bowed wineglasses, tolling bells, or the rumbling of distant jets.

Bill Meyer