A Produce/Ruben Garcia | Early Sessions 1991 - 1993
I first met Ruben Garcia sometime in 1984 through local radio host Brent Wilcox. At the time, Ruben, a keyboard/ synthesist, was involved in a project with guitarist Steve Caton with whom he'd done some cassette albums under the name "Repetition Repetition." At the same time, I was doing Trance Port Tapes, a cassette releasing label. Their sound could only be described as hypnotic and driving. In 1984, TPT released a double cassette set of "L.A. Mantra, Volume 2." As part of the four-sided cassette release, Repetition Repetition was featured on a track called "Over & Over (Pt. 7)." At the time I felt (and still feel) that Ruben was influenced by all the right guys-Harold Budd, Philip Glass, Steve Reich, Tangerine Dream and several others as well. It was always my intention to make TPT's next release a Repetition Repetition album, but the label itself unravelled in 1986, and it wasn't until after that, that we renewed our acquaintance a few years later. Quite a few years, actually....
Tracks 1 "Clear Pools" - September, 1991 - Canoga Park
Despite having known Ruben for several years, we hadn't collaborated together musically for some time, though I'd visited him a few times and heard what he was working on. Finally, in September, '91, we got together at his guest house studio in Canoga Park, and did this piece. The idea of the water appearing during the middle part came from another "lost" piece of Ruben's, ironically titled "Maybe Forgotten Forever." The title came from that idea and the classic Shriekback track from the early '80s, "Clear Trails." Robert Rich later mastered the "official" mix in 1994 for the "White Sands" compilation which came out in mid-1995, adding some reverb and EQ to the original track from the initial issue of "Reflect" which changed it a bit more. The original mix (heard here for the first time) already had plenty of reverb, yet seems drier and "warmer" in its original form.
Track 2 "La Selva"-November, 1991 -- Canoga Park
Previously unreleased as is much of the stuff on this compilation is. I left Ruben with the basic track which we jammed on in early November, 1991, live to DAT. From that point on, Ruben handled everything else (including congas as well as synth parts), and took the piece into another dimension. He named it "La Selva" ("The Jungle") afterwards. I was totally amazed at how he re-invented the piece when I heard it a few weeks later.
Track 3 "La Samba Electronica" - December, 1991 - Canoga Park
Another Ruben title.... We did a final session for 1991 in late December, and were more prolific than usual. I'd just gotten a new synth, and this particular groove was somewhat mesmerizing despite being based on a factory preset. Ruben loved it, though, so this out-take emerged. I added a slight background string pad/drone to give it a more unique quality. I believe this track has aged quite well, considering the fact that the genre of "dance music" is ageless--Harold Budd in a live dance band. Consider the possibilities....
Track 4 "Last Chance"-December, 1991 - Canoga Park
Also done the same day. An extremely static piece in the form of a high synth drone, but it does slowly develop-- into a beautiful retro-type Tangerine Dream bubbling piece. This piece sounds totally different to me in 2003 than it did in late 1991.
Track 5 "Reflect Like a Mirror, Respond Like an Echo"-January, 1992 - Canoga Park
Beginning the new year (1992), we had a session which yielded the next-to-opening track of my first album, released later released in '92. Even today, this is an extraordinarily powerful track for me when I hear it--once again I just provided the backing track, and let Ruben do his thing.
Track 6 "Indian Spirit" - January . 1992-Canoga Park
Recorded the same day in January, 1992 after "Reflect." Now, this is an interesting track-two ideas which later ended up as separate tracks on the "Inscape & Landscape" CD released on Trance Port in 1996. At the time Ruben and I were playing around with it, I was combining the two sounds to see how they worked together, and at this point, Ruben added his developing "solo piano sound." At the time, Ruben had a penchant for playing beyond a track's length that I'd created. In all cases showcased here, it worked out for the best.
Track 7 "The Wall of Dali" Takes 5 & 6 --October, 1992 - Canoga Park
Ruben and I convened again in October, 1992, a week or so after fellow collaborator Pierre Lambow passed on. Needless to say, there was a certain heaviness in the air. We did six takes of this piece, starting from nothing really. Ruben was heavily influenced by Monk as well as Budd at the time. The piece progressed, and I really enjoyed listening to Ruben pull things from the previous take into the "next" take. We finally arrived at the final take on Take 6, where the piano was completely pushed into the background, yet still in the foreground, as well, and eventually appeared on my "Land of a Thousand Trances" album. The next to last track (take 5) is included for the first time to show the creative process in action.
Track 8 "Intuition" (Take 3) --October, 1992 - Canoga Park
Also recorded the day "Dali" was recorded. Various approaches were tried-starting off with the pulse, fading it in, etc. Once again, Ruben pulled together things from the first two takes into the final one. These were the final recordings we did in his Canoga Park guesthouse.
Track 9 "It Comes in Waves" July, 1993 -- Frazier Park
Recorded in Frazier Park, where Ruben moved to in early '93, a mountain community a hour's drive north of Los Angeles. This is the version of what ended up on my album released in 1994-"Land of a 1000 Trances." I brought this backing track up to Ruben and he ended up adding "volume pedal guitar" from one of my synths to it that turned out well.