Ambient pianist Ruben Garcia (New York, 1954) debuted with the gorgeous,
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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