Rafael Toral Electric Babyland/Lullabies

Electric Babyland, notwithstanding the obvious Jimi Hendrix reference, is actually dedicated to Toral’s new baby daughter, Elsa. This record consists of superb electric guitar-generated sounds, toy box notes, and processed feedback. However, in Toral’s world, the guitar is not used in the conventional rock manner, but rather as a complex electronic sound generating device, more akin to a synthesiser. How Toral manages to create emotionally stirring atmospheric recordings with little in the way of obvious sound sources is the composer’s gift. Thematically, a lullaby motif does pervade, with music box tones interspersed, acting as a launch pad for his engaging oscillations. Electric Babyland begins with a soothing drone hum, not unlike being in a car with the engine idling, then abrupt sound changes occur; digitised pixie dust to awaken and capture the listeners’ attention. The music box melodies start, co-existing with Toral’s atmospherics followed by tingling guitar melodies lifted from an earlier work, Violence of Discovery and Calm of Acceptance. Electric Babyland/Lullabies dwells in the grey region between sleep and wakefulness and happens to be the ideal recording to soundtrack an epic bedtime fairy tale. (Tomlab)