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Boleros Valses y Mas

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Album Review

Usually known for creating abstract house and broken beat tracks under the name GB (Gifted & Blessed), Los Angeles-based musician Gabriel Reyes-Whittaker uses the Frankie Reyes moniker to pay tribute to his Puerto Rican heritage. His debut release under the alias, 2014's Technoindigenous Studies EP No. 1, mixed samples of chanting with light, almost subliminal beats, drawing connections between traditional forms of music and electronic dance culture. On the 2016 full-length Boleros Valses y Más, however, Reyes avoids beats or vocals of any kind. The album consists entirely of traditional Latin melodies performed on an Oberheim synthesizer. The keyboard's cool, muted tones have a glowing layer of echo surrounding them, giving the music a sort of detached, moonlit feeling, like they're being played in the corner of a smoky lounge. Even though some of the arrangements are quite complex and are very skillfully played, there's something eerie about them which almost makes them seem like they're being performed by a ghost. In some ways, it brings to mind the haunted ballroom sound of the Caretaker, but instead of repeating fragments of melodies in order to evoke deteriorating memories, the tunes here are vibrant and often chipper, even if the ethereal production quality makes it seem like they're being beamed in from a distant planet. It's the type of album that could very easily fade into the background in nearly any situation (it wouldn't even sound too out of place around Christmastime), but paying closer attention, and especially knowing the context of the record, reveals much more detail.

Biography

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '10s

Frankie Reyes is an alias of Los Angeles-based electronic musician Gabriel Reyes-Whittaker, best known for his abstract house releases as GB (Gifted & Blessed) in addition to other pseudonyms including the Abstract Eye and Julian Abelar. He debuted the Frankie Reyes moniker with 2014's Technoindigenous Studies EP No. 1 (issued by his own Gifted & Blessed label), which combined atmospheric synth pads and light beats with echo-heavy samples of indigenous chanting. The debut Reyes full-length, Boleros...
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Boleros Valses y Mas, Frankie Reyes
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