Space Quartet

“After all, the idea behind the Space Quartet has always been just one: To promote a musical form that would serve as a metaphor to the many dimensions of the notion of space in our lives.”


The SPACE QUARTET is based on a near-classic jazz lineup of drums, double bass and two soloist voices, of which one or both are abstract electronics, and operates in a post-free context, bringing in elements from the outer limits of disparate genres.
Evolving since 2014, the Space Quartet is now fresh with a new lineup. Joined by the inventiveness and clarity of double-bassist Hugo Antunes, the cross-boundary, sharp drumming of Nuno Morão and the multi-language intelligence of saxophonist Nuno Torres, Rafael Toral’s unique phrasing style in custom electronic instruments of his own invention finds its best home ever. Melodic without notes, rhythmic without a beat, familiar but strange, meticulous but radically free, his music has been described as “a brand of electronic music far more visceral and emotive than that of his cerebral peers”. The quartet’s ever renewing, ever unfolding dynamics create widely diversified moments, from Japanese calligraphy to fire-jazz, fruit of how its members make decisions within the Quartet’s space-driven framework.

Space Quartet, 2019 in Antwerp

The Space Quartet personnel as of Spring 2019 is:

Rafael Toral:  electronic instruments
Hugo Antunes:  double bass
Nuno Morão:  drums and percussion
Nuno Torres:  saxophone, electronics

After the conclusion of the 13-year-long Space Program series, Space Quartet marks a new horizon in Rafael Toral’s ongoing music explorations. Referring both to a record and a band configuration, Space Quartet embodies a maturing moment for the Portuguese musician. As one of the most internationally-recognized figures in the leftfield domains of music, Toral describes the album as “an advanced application of the Space Program principles”: electronic music with a human touch.

The electronics are the driving core of the ambitious Space Quartet, setting it apart from many examples of electronics in jazz. Inspired by some of the principles and methods of enigmatic master Sei Miguel, the music develops solely according to the musicians’ free decisions. The result is a sense of flux and ever-renewing forward motion, continuously unfolding into new places, through spirit and matter from jazz-rock to ambient music and “the singing of standards from another planet” (Toral dixit). One thing is for sure: you’ve never heard anything like this before.

Clean Feed Press release


The Space Quartet’s debut CD out on Clean Feed, released in May 2018 with a different lineup.



Space Quartet CD review on the Wire magazine.


“One need not cross the stratosphere to commune with the future. Reaching further than NASA’s probes, forging a field both singular and universal, Space Quartet celebrate a here rather than a there: a place we all share — together.”

Review by Todd B. Gruel on Tiny Mix Tapes.


Interview (in Portuguese) about the Space Quartet (refers to the 2018 lineup, but otherwise up to date):
Excelente entrevista por Nuno Catarino sobre o Space Quartet (referindo a formação anterior, mas de resto actualizada e pertinente):

Space Quartet: Stage plan and Technical requirements

Press kit: Hi-res Photos and Bio