Florencia Ruiz: Cuerpo

VerdiGris, a new Mexican label from the folks at Static Discos, clearly won't likely be confused with its sister company if Cuerpo, the debut by Argentinean composer Florencia Ruiz (originally issued in 2003, incidentally), is representative of its sound; only the inclusion of a concluding Murcof remix makes the connection overt. It's natural that within these sparse guitar, piano, and strings settings Ruiz's voice would be prominent (in “Niño 0,” it's so closely miked it's piercing, indicative of Cuerpo's home recording origins), but surprisingly her singing is also sparingly used. That's partially attributable to her minimalist approach to lyrics but also to the emphasis on song composition; instead of the songs being vehicles for her voice, it's merely one instrument, albeit the most distinctive one, of many (“Parte,” for instance, shines the spotlight on electric guitar and keyboards more than her singing and, in “Siberia,” the foreboding string elements are the primary attraction); Ruiz's voice stands out even more when she wrings the maximum amount of emotion from those few lyrics. The songs themselves are by turns dramatic, pleading, languorous, and contemplative, in a few cases subtly coloured by found sounds and electronic texture. Her voice pans from side to side during the haunting “Mañana” and, in “Alcanzar,” voices swell into choirs behind a simple guitar motif and drone. Murcof's remix imbues “ Siberia ” with restrained propulsion and deepens its hypnotic character. Lyrics are included but in Spanish only; however, Ruiz herself explains that the songs constellate around the theme of the body (“The relation we have with bodies, the way we sometimes attack them, and not always in the physical sense, the space and shapes of things around us”). Apparently, her second album Corer is scheduled for release on VerdiGris in 2007 so it should be interesting to discover how her music has changed since Cuerpo.

October 2006