A Produce/Ruben Garcia | Early Sessions 1991 - 1993
"After many years of absence a brand new cd-r has been released on Barry Craig's own label
Trance Port. It features music he -as A Produce- recorded with electronics & piano-magician
Ruben Garcia in the early '90, and after experiencing the whole album I'm glad it came out
of the vault after such a long time. Opener "Clear Pools" and the 5th track "Reflect like a
mirror, Respond Like an Echo"--both solo-recordings of Barry which appeared on former
albums--actually describe what their music is all about: transparency, reflection, emotion.
A slightly tribal rhythm leads the way in "La Selva", accompanied by drifting soundworlds on
the background. Also track 6 "Indian Spirit" is a real treat for the ear: both musicians
weave slightly mystifying textures and Garcia's additional piano-keys match beautifully.
Track 7 and 8 feature two "takes" of the same track "The Wall of Dali", indeed providing
some surrealistic angles and twists, but all stays in a slow, dreamy way. The last track on
the album is "It comes in waves", a delicate piece of music featuring soft-echoing guitar-licks
and atmospheric dwellings. This well-produced album offers some really interesting craftsmanship
from way back, so those fond of both musicians and Eno/Budd should really make sure to check
this one out. Info can be found at www.hypnos.com/aproduce."
"'Early Sessions' is not lacking in texture and atmosphere. But don't look here if you're mainly looking for diffuse background music. You might be tempted to ignore this music at times just because it has subtle timbres, but after a few minutes you'll know better. To submit to the charm you have to listen.
Most interesting to me are compositions that are based on melodic patterns you might hear in a twilight state, what Richard Bone calls the "space between consciousness and unconsciousness." Not all of the "early Sessions" material is meditative and hypnotic, though much of it is. There are emotional trances which are pervaded by tension seeking resolution. These include some haunting developments you can't help but get involved in precisely because there is nothing contrived or deliberately 'spooky' about the music. Also featured is some polyrhythmic shamanic/tribal material that works well because of where it is in relation to the tracks that precede and follow.
There's lots going on with this music, but it's never overbearing. There are more than just a few notes, but they are all essential. Though the musical concepts are complex, the music itself comes off as simple and unpretentious. It does involve some repetition, but it's not repetitive or circular. It's always going somewhere, even if by nuances.
"Early Sessions" is well produced, with nice clean recordings. It does not have a quality of
being dependent on studio tricks or electronics. The piano and hammer dulcimers create an
organic feel. Synths are featured on several tracks. They work well with the acoustic instruments,
adding texture and dimension. The CD title 'Early Sessions' seems to suggest there is something
preliminary about the proceedings. Actually, this is a very complete package. Some artists take
musical stereotypes and give them new life with a clever twist. A Produce and Ruben Garcia avoid
cliches altogether. They give you pure emotion and also a safe place to process the emotion. This
music is not about astral travel. It's about inner space and the petitions of the human heart.
I'm somewhat familiar with A Produce and Ruben Garcia (including his work with Harold Budd and Daniel
Lentz). This CD is definitely different from what you might expect from either artist by themselves
(some of their discography is handled by www.Hypnos.com if you'd like to check it out). I'm not sure
how to classify the music on "Early Sessions." It is lovely and disturbing at the same time. It is
structured but also open-ended. It goes to show you what can happen when artists with very different
talents collaborate, both keeping an open mind. When reviewing music, it seems important to say
something about what makes it special. I think this is the key: A Produceand Ruben Garcia do not take
their audience for granted. They want you to have something essential."
"This is the first of a series of special edition CDRs on A Produce's Trance Port label, and if
this is any indication, the rest will be worth checking out as well. Much like his 1995 compilation
White Sands, this is a mix of previously available and previously unreleased material. It is also
like White Sands in that the arranging of the selections is perfect, such that it seems like a
standalone CD that was always intended to be played in this order. I have always really liked A
Produce's style, and wish that he were more prolific, but I will easily settle for the quality of
archive material presented here. "Clear Pools" leads off, a slight variation from the version that
appeared on White Sands. Next comes "La Selva (The Jungle)," with layers of soft percussion that do
have somewhat the feel of being on safari. "La Samba Electronica" is fairly self-explanatory as well.
On both tracks, deep echoes of piano figure prominently, as in so many other A Produce recordings of
this vintage. "Last Chance" moves into the minimal ambient realm, with light water sounds and a few
sparse electronics, making for a really nice atmospheric number. Similar in tone and mood is "Indian
Spirit," perhaps a touch darker though still quite soothing. Following this is two versions of the
same track, takes five and six of "The Wall of Dali." The main difference really seems like the volume
is turned to about a third in take six of what it was in take five. For a collection of outtakes
combined with a few familiar tunes, the disc flows quite well, with a very unified feel. Only "It Comes
In Waves" sounds markedly different, focusing on bells, chimes, and electronics, leaving the piano
behind. This shift in the sonic landscape completes the journey for a fitting conclusion."