Most excellent newie from Rafael Toral, whom I previously knew only for his excellent solo albums of processed guitar work. On Space Elements Volume II (STAUBGOLD DIGITAL 5), he’s exploring his collaborative endeavours and working with some topnotch musicians including Manuel Mota and Evan Parker. The instrumentation here (vibraphone, trumpet, percussion, Fender Rhodes) isn’t too far away from what you’d expect to find at any Miles Davis session recorded after 1970, and perhaps it isn’t too fanciful to suggest Toral is attempting a contemporary update on electric free jazz. Of course, this album is far more restrained and abstract than Agharta or Dark Magus, curbing the excesses of free improvisation into a carefully-constructed suite of space-age sounds, with oodles of ‘white space’. On the strength of this, I’d expect Toral to be awarded a pavilion to himself at the next world’s fair where he shows us the living room of the future with its weightless bookcases and music imprinted on little sugar-coated pills. This’ll be out at the end of April 2010.