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- Violence of Discovery And Calm of Acceptance by Rafael Toral
8/10 Ant Staff review, 19 November 2010
It's great that Touch have seen fit to re-issue this gem from this esteemed Portuguese artist. It originally came out on vinyl on the Staubgold label in the year 2000 with the first CD edition appearing on Touch a year later. All the sounds present come from electric guitars except for some background noise on 'Mixed States Uncoded' which is a recording of silence during a space mission webcast. What is most striking about the album is how measured and well considered Rafael places his sounds and constructs the tracks. Any pre-conceptions of the potential limitations of the guitars sonic capabilities can be thrown out of the window at this point. As the honeyed tones gently trickle into the ears, the overall effect is blissed and calming recalling prime Brian Eno ambient material. Witnessing the sounds of 'Maersk Line' slowly transform within its brief duration is extremely pleasurable. The bubbling liquid sounds and fluid underpinning bleeps of 'Liberete' are the foundation for a slow building drone and highly detailed panning intricacies which really hit the spot. 'Optical Flow' goes deep with a magical, almost present melody, working like an archaic music box having being dusted off and slowly regaining it's former glory while hum, crackle and a buried chorus of cricket like ticking enhances the tranquil mood. 'Energy Nourish' is a fine example of how a lot of the tracks feel like they could easily slip into pure darkness but retain a tension and mystery that's on the edge, never fully descending into total blackness. The albums longest running track 'Hay Que Trabajo Me Cuesta Quererte Como Te Quiero' is quite the journey into the unknown, conjuring up abstract visions through individual sounds that begin to feel like a lost or hidden language or secret code communicating while the listener remains ignorant and can merely speculate. The conclusion of the disc 'Mixed States Uncoded' as the title suggests drops the cloak and reveals the guitar in a more recognizable form albeit in a dreamy effected mode framed by lush static rain like sounds from the "silence" recording which fade to a close.
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