Rafael Toral
Spectral Evolution
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1Spectral Evolution – Excerpt 1 2:45
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Rafael Toral returns to the electric guitar after a decade-plus in his »Space Program,« composing only with self-built electronic modules. Here, the unique compositional fronts of guitar and electronics crush together in a powerful new synthesis, as Toral weaves twelve distinct episodes into a flowing whole. »Spectral Evolution« imbues the ambiance of jazz harmony-inspired interplay with dense electronic mass in a new expanding universe.

After a two-decade interlude, Jim O"Rourke"s Moikai returns with »Spectral Evolution«, a major new work by Rafael Toral. Making his name in the mid-1990s with influential guitar drone platters, Toral has never been one to rest on his laurels repeating his past glories. In the early years of the 21st century, Toral laid the guitar aside, along with the focus on extended tones that had defined much of his music until that point. He began his »Space Program,« a thirteen-year investigation of the performance possibilities of an ever-expanding set of custom electronic instruments, played with a fluid phrasing and rhythmic flexibility inspired by jazz. Dedicated to honing his skills on these idiosyncratic instruments, Toral has performed with them extensively both solo and in many collaborations, including in his Space Quartet, where his mini-amplifier feedback integrates seamlessly into the frontline of a classic post-free jazz quartet rounded out with saxophone, double bass, and drums. Since 2017, Toral"s work has been entering a new phase, often still centered around the arsenal of self-built instruments developed in the »Space Program«, but with a renewed interest in the long tones and almost static textures of his earlier work; he has also, after more than a decade, returned to the electric guitar. »Spectral Evolution« is undoubtedly Toral's most sophisticated work to date, bringing together seemingly incompatible threads from his entire career into a powerful new synthesis, both wildly experimental and emotionally affecting. The product of three years of experimentation and recording, and synthesizing the insights of more than thirty years of musical research, »Spectral Evolution« is the quintessential album of guitar music from Rafael Toral.