If you thought that Rafael Toral’s quartet was named after some reference to Sun Ra’s spatial jazz, here is the confirmation that there’s much more at stake than that, even if the many allusions to the Saturn envoy are also true. Space is the valorization of pauses, interstices, a certain measure of expression and narrative, a way to create transparencies and, most of all, a return to a human dimension, aware of its heart beating, its organic, silent thinking/ inner living of bodily functions. It’s in the air surrounding us and inside us.
Since his seminal “Space” (2006), Rafael Toral has been playing with custom electronic instruments paradoxically inadequate for jazz phrasing, but making of them a vehicle for music as free as conceivably possible. Powerfully propelled by the inventiveness and clarity of double-bassist Hugo Antunes, the cross-boundary, sharp drumming of Nuno Morão and the multi-language intelligence of alto saxophonist Nuno Torres, Toral’s electronic feedbacks are molded by a galaxy of things including noise, rock, ambient and electronic music, inspired by the thinking of “space” pioneers like Bill Dixon or Miles Davis. If, nowadays, there’s plenty of acoustic ensembles playing as if the conventional instruments were electronic, in “Directions” the approach goes inversely. It couldn’t be more defying.
"Not to interrupt someone who is talking, is giving space. To stand aside and not in the doorway is creating space. To refrain from judging too fast is leaving space. We need SPACE more than ever now. To back off. To slow down. To be quiet. Anything that happens in open space, happens in a more positive way. More vulnerable, hopefully more grounded. "- Rafael Toral
Rafael Toral: acoustic and electronic feedback, direction
Hugo Antunes: double bass
Nuno Morão: drums and percussion
Nuno Torres: alto saxophone, electronics