Boomkat Product Review:
Cosmic explorer Rafael Toral yields “the most quintessentially Ambient record i have ever done” with the free-floating structures of his 72-minute piece ‘Constellation In Still Time’
Unfurling a microcosmos of near-static, pointillist notes and chiming chords that glint like distant starlight, Toral’s latest is his most significant LP since ‘Moon Field’, also for Room40, issued in 2017 surrounding further volumes of his long-running ‘Space’ series. However, the Portuguese guitarist views his new album as the start of a distinct, new, 3rd phase of his sound that loops back into his earliest work by expanding on the concepts of his seminal debut, 1994’s ‘Sound Mind Sound Body’ in a way that he wasn’t able to execute back then, thanks to a new set of players who are capable of interpreting his slow-burn compositional ideas.
Working around the barely-there temporal structure of Toral’s fine, computer generated sine waves, the ensemble of Angelica V. Salvi (Harp), Joana Bagulho (Clavinet), Joana Gama (Piano), Luís Bittencourt (Vibraphone), and Riccardo Dillon Wanke (Rhodes Piano) pick out the piece’s curves and harmonic aura in a shimmering moire of precise yet languorous gestures that slowly shift pattern to create unpredictable, probing junctures that split the difference between the smoky, almost jazz-wise qualities of Elodie, the proto-ambient ‘Free Improvisation’ of New Phonic Art, or the contemplative nature of Morton Feldman works.