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(49:07, Viajero Inmovil Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Altar 1:01 2. Narval 5:34 3. Caminante 2:13 4. Culmination 6:49 5. Los Deudos 3:14 6. El Inventor 4:06 7. Los Olvidados 6:05 8. Un Atajo al Precipicio 2:31 9. Un Hijo en el Sueno 5:11 10. Veinto Negro 1:31 11. Cuando Eramos Amigos 4:33 12. Marea 2:14 13. Desolacion 4:03 LINEUP: Andres Ruiz – el. & ac. pianos, keyboards; el. guitar; drums, percussion Alejandro Moffardin – fretted bass With: Erica Villar – flute (2, 4, 8) Elizabeth Ridolfi – violin (5, 8, 12) Diego Lopes – saxophone (7) Romina Grosso – voice (11)
Prolusion. “Los Deudos” by Andres Ruiz is my first encounter with this Argentinean multi-instrumentalist and songwriter’s work. Like any other Viajero Inmovil Records output, this one represents a miniature, yet almost exact copy-reduction (only with a CD instead of an LP) of those full ‘vinyl’ albums from the ‘70s that contain inlays with lyrics inside their covers’ back sleeves, in many ways embodying the tri-unity of music, painting and poetry.
Analysis. The musicians who took part in the creation of this album are all listed above in the same order that they appear on its inlay. In fact, however, bassist Alejandro Moffardin is absent on five of the thirteen tracks here; only Andres plays on all of them, three of those being performed by him alone. These are Altar, Veinto Negro and Desolacion, of which the first two are both too short and uneventful alike to be defined otherwise than as spacey outline sketches. The latter is a fairly lush symphonic ballad, featuring a few analog keyboards in addition to vocals, as also does the title track which, though, is additionally scored with violin passages. The unvocal pieces, Un Atajo al Precipicio and Marea, still find Andres playing pianos and organ, his main accompaniment coming from violinist Elizabeth Ridolfi again, in both cases. Like any of the previous complete compositions, these are also very pastoral in nature. Of the three songs with a full-band sound that are at least basically balladic, too, Narval, Un Hijo en el Sueno and Cuando Eramos Amigos, the former reveals some fine flute trills closer to its finale, whereas overall, it is too simple and repetitive to challenge the progressive ear, which can only be excused by the fact that it’s an opening composition (the aforesaid brief cut Altar is its intro, fluidly flowing into it). Contrariwise, the other two are almost equally bright and effective, both revealing a few fairly impressive instrumental intermezzos which help them fully meet the requirements of a full-fledged art-rock ballad. Okay, semi-improvised solos pop up here and there on each of the three as well, but where Andres’s penchant for blending purely symphonic and quasi improvisational elements is really obvious is on the remaining four tracks, all of which are full-blown compositions. On El Inventor, Culmination and Los Olvidados the quantity of vocal-based and purely instrumental arrangements is approximately equal, though these latter generally contain much more room for soloing than any of the other songs, and are often distinguished by the rather complex and at the same time dynamic unison (as well as differently-vectored) guitar, organ and either electric or acoustic piano leads, plus – quite remarkable – flute and saxophone ones on the second and last of these respectively. Caminante is overall much in the same vein as the last three of the above, particularly as El Inventor, but nonetheless I find it to be the most exciting track on here. And unlike those, it doesn’t contain any singing at all, as it’s exactly the vocal sections (wherever they occur on the CD – just to a lesser or greater extent, of course) that are lacking in diversity, to put it mildly.
Conclusion. The main virtues of this musical material are its purely instrumental arrangements and its overall originality (you see I didn’t use any comparisons in this review – a rare case in my practice) which is worth praising already in itself. Add here that this, for the most part either a one- or two-man effort fairly often has a true ensemble quality to it, and I hope you’ll find the rating I’ve given it, despite all its flaws, to be rightly deserved.
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