Rafael Toral | Engine 03_04_02, Live at Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris

Touch | CD

Toral's glistening guitar chords wrenched from, adopting a by now familiar approach to the guitar as potential noise generator. While many others have mined this fertile territory, wrestling unfamilar sounds from the guitar's body, few are as capable as Toral, who's numerous releases to date have met with widespread critical acclaim.

What sets him apart is his ability to tease fragile sounds from the guitar's fabric which are rarely, if ever, matched. Huge broad brushstrokes of sound, as fertile as any expressionist canvas, Toral paints fabulously detailed portraits in sound which easily repay repeated listening.

'Engine' - a piece for "two guitars, twin modulated feedback circuits and motorized strings", not to mention a lengthy list of other devices - glistens over 37 molten minutes as Toral coaxes his mini-orchestra of sound generators into a slowly coalescing cohort of fluid tones and pulses. A slow-burning arc of sound that seems to stop time in its tracks.

Like a timed release drug, 'Engine' builds slowly, gently. Opening with twin-tracked sibilance by the twelfth minute separate lines intertwine, rising in tone, ever-upwards, stretching infinity-like as a thick-as-molasses tone is spiraled out into an ever-lengthening thread like molten glass. Elastic guitar lines hover, distorted into fluid shapes before crystalising at 15 minutes, tones splintering and collapsing inwards to reveal a hovering melody which slowly unfolds over the remaining minutes.

It's here - in the time-defying, drawn out conclusions to his works - that the secret to Toral's fascinating pieces lie. The closing seven minutes are literally a joy to experience as Toral slowly corals the numerous melodic strands uncovered earlier to reveal a shimmering heatwave melody neatly interlocking with a multi-stranded foundation of glistening chords. Seven sublime minutes seemingly lasting hours, time standing still until the…

A beauty to witness.

[CM]



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