Review - Violence of Discovery and Calm of Acceptance

Artist: Rafael Toral

In the liner notes, Rafael Toral listed each guitar used to create each track on "Violence of Discovery and Calm of Acceptance," like the nerdiest of music-store nerds. But even if he had not, you'd barely know they were there most of the time. The Portuguese composer takes the prosaic instruments of rock-conquest and feeds their signals into a variety of analog electronics and effects, to create a series of ethereal drone pieces. The result is probably the most stunning and unlikely solo guitar album you will ever hear.

Toral has released several sparse epics, but "Violence" is his finest, in part because he focuses his efforts on a more intimate scale. A track such as the opening "Desirée" might overwhelm and cause mental drift at album-side length; at three and a half minutes, its lush northern-lights shimmer envelopes you, ravishes you and moves on. Still, this is, more than Toral's previous efforts, a guitar record. You can hear the contour and grain of actual straight-outta-the-amp feedback amid the shifting timbres on "Maersk Line" and "Liberté."

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