Rafael Toral | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Rafael Toral 

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Rafael Toral

Rafael Toral's Wave Field (Moneyland, 1995) and Violence of Discovery and Calm of Acceptance (Touch, 2001) are two of the most gorgeous records of guitar music made in the past decade--and part of their beauty derives from how far they venture from the familiar language of the guitar. To create the surging ambient soundscapes of Wave Field, the Lisbon-born Toral ran the signal from his instrument through a battery of equalizers, filters, and other electronic effects, generating vivid tonal colors that flow as inexorably as lava. On Violence he's refined and intensified this palette, assembling ten concise, vibrant new compositions from guitar textures that sometimes sound like bowed wineglasses, tolling bells, or the rumbling of distant jets. In recent years Toral has also made compelling music without a guitar--he didn't touch a string throughout "Infinity Blur," a Cagean exploration of the limits of audibility that comprised the first set of a 1999 Chicago concert, instead relying on jury-rigged electronics; and he generated the lustrous, resonant sounds threaded through Aeriola Frequency (Perdition Plastics, 1998) by plugging two delay units into each other and modifying the looping feedback of this empty circuit with an equalizer. But this is the first time Toral has come to town and simply left his guitar behind. He'll perform a new set-length composition, "Engine," with a Doepfer analog modular system and a mixer, manipulating twin channels of electronically generated feedback--the only guitar sounds will be replayed from minidiscs. Electronic musicians Ian Epps and Ian Nagoski will each perform an opening set. Saturday, July 14, 10 PM, 6Odum, 2116 W. Chicago; 773-227-3617.

BILL MEYER

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Jim Newberry.

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