Ruben Garcia
(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )

Colors In Motion (1992), 6.5/10
The Gatekeeper (1994), 6.5/10
Room Full of Easels (1996), 7/10
I Can Fell The Heat 1998), 5.5/10
Lakeland (2000)
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Ambient pianist Ruben Garcia (New York, 1954) debuted with the gorgeous, slow-motion, Harold Budd-like piano melodies of Colors In Motion (Close Tolerance Music, 1992). Set to a discrete syncopated electronic beat, the melodic pattern of The Dancing Dolls is a sequence of trilling bursts of notes, something halfway between a jazz theme and a bird song. Elegy juxtaposes a neoclassical beat, a solemn piano melody and tidal waves of an electronic orchestra. A similar combination is added exotic overtones and a metaphysical suspense in Desert Calm. The piano takes over the rhythmic chores in The Movie Massacre, one of the saddest arias. Drama and simplicity balance each other in the ecstatic cascading motives of Colors in Motion. Return to Vegas can't resist the temptation of synth-pop: a louder beat and a hummable refrain create a case of minimalist dance music. Africa from the Air The fusion of ambient minimalism and what is essentially the arrangement style of synth-pop coined a new genre of instrumental music.

The Gatekeeper (Close Tolerance Music, 1994) adopted a more pure and austere format. Its solo sonatas (the intense Impresiones, the tenuous Copete Brillante, the somber Reptilian Movements, the romantic Ember Eyes) feel like slow-motion documentaries. The Terry Riley-ian minimalist undercurrent of I Looked Back is as prominent as the rainy notes in the foreground, a trick that highlights once more Garcia's ability to fuse two different emotional levels (the spiritual/transcendent one and the romantic/domenstic one).

The length of the pieces increases substantially on Room Full of Easels (Close Tolerance Music, 1996). Garcia's compositions now rely more on tape loops than on composed patterns. The calm landscape of Rainy spins reverbs and reverbs of reverbs. Sueno is almost funereal in its slow motion and self-implosion, while the 15-minute The Whales Are Crying for piano and "whale guitar" is the most oneiric moment in the album.
The 21-minute Eleven Moons (possibly Garcia's masterpiece) weaves an amoebic web of tender notes, that evokes breezes upsetting the clear waters of a lake or moonlight bristling with stars. Jeff Pearce's guitar adds haunting background noises to Garcia's delicate piano meditation.

Garcia further perfected his art on I Can Fell The Heat Closing In (Close Tolerance Music, 1998) and Lakeland (Close Tolerance Music, 2000).

Maybe Forgotten Forever (Hypnos, 2004) is a double-disc career retrospective.

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(Copyright © 2003 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )
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