João Pais Filipe: Bass Drum, Gongs, Bells.
Rafael Toral: Feedback (modified MS-2 amplifier), Guitar.
Jupiter, the gas giant in our Solar System, with thunderstorms a thousand times more powerful than on Earth, rainfalls of diamonds in the atmosphere, temperatures below -100°C, plenty of hydrogen, 79 moons and a South pole that looks like an abstract painting, has just the kind of environment this music seems to emanate from.
Jupiter and Beyond, the second collaborative effort of composer/performer Rafael Toral and percussionist João Pais Filipe as a duo (after Saturn in 2016), is definitely not quite a record of Earth music. On the contrary, Jupiter and Beyond, is indeed gas music, unfolding over two long movements without solid body or any tangible outline, between ambient and noise. A music of sheer volume and beauty, icy, massive, in which the elements of Toral’s signature, in particular his use of jazz-inspired electronics and feedback, dissolve to become a labile, nebulous, expansive material, occasionally struck by abyssal depressions and masterful densities, magnified by the return, after 17 years of silence, of the electric guitar in Rafael Toral’s instrumentarium.
Towards the end of Beyond, the second piece on the record, lurking behind the volutes of feedback, a bell and a bass drum, one can detect from the distance… a barking dog, as a surreptitious and prosaic reminder of where we are here and now, a calling back to Earth. Between sadness and joy, anger and peace, movement and stillness, Jupiter and Beyond is indeed a mirror held out to us, music reflecting our times and that emotionally speaks first of all about us.
“While João Pais Filipe was drummer in the Space Quartet, we played a live duo set. During soundcheck we were jamming for a while on bowed gongs and feedback and lost track of time, it just flowed so well. I joked “we could make a whole record with this!”. But later we took the idea seriously and set to record an improvised session at his cymbalsmith workshop (he made the gong on the cover and it was used in the recording). When we listened to the first take the mass of sound was amazing. At some point it reminded me of the complex clusters of sound in Ligeti’s music as it appears on Kubrick’s 2001 scene “Jupiter and Beyond the Infinite”. In the end the title felt like an apt choice for Saturn’s successor. Back at my studio I felt the need for some more layers of density in some sections. I thought of using trombones, but ended up picking up the electric guitar, which I hadn’t used since 2003.” Rafael Toral