Despite widespread indifference in his native land, Lisbon-based Rafael Toral has released a series of CDs that push the boundaries of musical genres as well as the limits of his instrument, establishing him as one of the most gifted and innovative guitarists of the decade. Played at low volume, Wave Field (Moneyland) is a beautiful record whose liquid flow is reminiscent of Brian Eno's experiments with ambient music. Turn it up and it becomes a churning, mesmerizing, layered soundscape of molten feedback and chiming overtones. But as a member of No Noise Reduction with fellow guitarist Paulo Feliciano, Toral throws continuity to the wind. The duo's On Air (released by Chicago's Eighth Day Music) is assembled from radio concerts during which the men played guitars and children's toys through myriad electronic effects; the humorously fractured results sound like a riot in a home for retired sci-fi movie robots. Toral's live debut here last November also revealed him to be a sensitive and daring improviser, but documentation of that aspect of his talents will have to wait for another record. Tuesday evening he'll perform "Live Loop," a guitarless composition for guitar effects, on WHPK's Radio Dada. Wednesday Toral will present "Guitar Too, for Four," by American minimalist composer Phill Niblock, and on Thursday, opening for Gastr del Sol and Merzbow, he will play "Wave Field," from that album. Wednesday, 10 PM, Lunar Cabaret and Full Moon Cafe, 2827 N. Lincoln; 327-6666. Thursday, 9 PM, Lounge Ax, 2438 N. Lincoln; 525-6620.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo by Falcon D.