Space Collective 2 Live commemorates Portuguese musician Rafael Toral’s first U.S. tour in several years. Since the 1990s, Toral has been primarily known for his guitar work, but has since been working on the Space Program project, within which he has probed visceral and personal components of electronic music performance, and how they relate to the performer's experience, not to the resultant product.
These recordings, taken from a live set at All Tomorrow’s Parties in 2012, find Toral performing with drummer Afonso Simões, developing sparse, deep textures with triggers and modular oddities. Smartly paced and absolutely blistering at times, this set touches on a variety of surprising tones: flute-like expressions, spacey warbles, and intricately patterned arpeggios that dissolve into drone sections with confrontational sonic palettes.
Rafael Toral / electronics
Alfonso Simões / drums
Artwork and layout by E. Lindorff-Ellery
Printed by Fitzgerald Letterpress
1. Part I - 17:23
2. Part II - 13:38
Available as 320k MP3 or 16bit FLAC
"This may very well be the perfect entry point for one new to the Space Program. I actually saw Toral give a solo performance in October at The Projection Museum, an art studio and living space right at the edge of Northeast Portland on Burnside, at the invitation of a friend, and while one does get a very visceral sense of what Toral means when he says he wants to make a more humanized, meaningfully expressive version of electronic music by emphasizing a sense of precise control over his tools in his solo performances, something about this 2012 collective effort stylistically falls into a place, if for the fullness of its sound. As Side A gets underway, Simões gives Toral room to breathe, offsetting Toral’s exploratory stabs into the silence with distant thunder. With an electronic shriek, the gates of sane madness open and that silence explodes into a whirlwind of violence, with Simões’s frantic strokes keeping time with Toral’s Braxton-like sonic attack. It’s a startling synthesis to behold (the actual sight of Toral yanking piercing cries out of these unassuming-looking handheld boxes is mesmerizing, I might add), but at the same time it’s one that makes one wonder why it was not stumbled upon before Toral took the leap. This is experimental electronic music operating at a higher level of deliberation and thoughtfulness than nearly everything else in sound synthesis and free improvisation– an essential document and a real pleasure to see getting a proper release." - Foreign Accents