Rafael Toral is one of a newer generation of experimental guitarists who strive to wrestle the last drops of possibility from an instrument from which so much diverse noise (never mind melody) has been extracted already that it’s no wonder that the only really drastic step left to take is to deconstruct the whole thing digitally. So following in the string bends and preparations of the likes of Robert Hampson, Lee Renaldo, Jim O’Rourke, Derek Bailey and so on, Toral opts for the deceptively simple approach of making the guitar sing the body and neck electric.
Through ten tracks of uncurling analogue electronics and string-driven sounds, Violence Of Discovery and Calm Of Acceptance is crafted into an album of ambience which even manages to include the sound of amplified silence on a Space Shuttle mission launch webcast, a trick of which Eno would no doubt be proud. Tones and drones luxuriate without lounging or wafting into the realms of pomposity or self-indulgence – the feeling generated is more that Rafael Toral is actively listening to the sounds he’s making as both an outsider and creator. Regardless of the truth or not of this impression, the end result is a disc which roams from the rising effects trails into the tightly-controlled diversion of feedback into rhythms and half-framed melodies and chords, plateauing in areas where the sounds become scratchily electrical rather than merely plain and simply electronic.
Tracks like “Mixed States Uncoded” bring to mind the better days of Flying Saucer Attack, conjouring an evocatively meditative quality from the guitars (and bass in this case) which inspires a gentle relaxation into the flow of the by-now uplifting music. Freq1C