Vital Weekly

Jazz, according to Rafael Toral, is ‘a system of individual decision-making from the standpoint of free-spectrum live electronics’, and since releasing ‘Space’ (see Vital Weekly 542), Total plays his own, and I must add, his own radical version of electronic jazz. On custom built electronic devices that is. So not a merge of electronics and jazz, but jazz on electronic devices. As announced back then, it was part of [the Space Program], in which he would play with others, but ‘Space’ was a solo record. Here however we get the first volume of ‘Space Elements’, which also sees players as Rute Praca (cello), Margarida Garcia (electric double bass), David Toop (flute) and Sei Miguel (pocket trumpet). They don’t all appear together, but in various combinations, always along Toral’s ‘glove controlled computer sinewaves, ribbon-controlled sinewave bursts, modified MT-10 amplifier, analog modular synthesizer, delayed and filtered feedback empty circuit and amplified coil spring’ – quite a mouthful. I am still not a lover of jazz, and prefer to make individual decisions on perhaps a totally different level, but the musical ground that is covered here is quite nice. The electronics sound utterly ‘dry’, i.e. without sound effects, computer plug ins or such like, while the other instruments restrict themselves to play also dry, clean and short sounds. This is indeed ‘free’ music, where each player makes his own decision, and as such its perhaps ‘jazz’, and again perhaps Toral’s own term ‘post-free jazz electronic music’ covers the entire ground. It’s music that goes without much precedent of the past, and surely marks something new. That by itself is a great effort, but the results are nice also!

Frans deWaard