Private Playlist: Frankie Reyes marries technology with tradition

Frankie Reyes. Photo by Jesús Iñiguez

Private Playlist is a listening session with Southern California’s most notable musical figures in their private creative environments.

Frankie Reyes is one of the myriad creative aliases of Gabriel Reyes-Whittaker, an electronic polymath who has also recorded as Gifted & Blessed (GB), Julian Abelar, The Reflektor, Abstract Eye, and more. As Frankie Reyes, he draws broadly upon his Puerto Rican heritage for elegant minimalist interpretations of traditional music. His most recent release is 2020’s “Originalitos” on Stones Throw, who also released Reyes-Whittaker’s music as The Steoples with vocalist Yeofi Andoh. The hyper-prolific producer also runs his own imprint, (fittingly) called GIFTED & BLESSED.

For this edition of Private Playlist, Frankie Reyes spins the music that influenced his own discipline of “techno-indigenous studies,” including tracks by Mort Garson, Hiroshi Yoshimura, and Steve Roach.

“The world is endless; the music doesn’t stop.” — Frankie Reyes

FRANKIE REYES: When I went over the songs that are really drawing me in these days, I always like to tell people that the theme that I go for is something I call "techno-indigenous studies." That's a marriage between the technological or modern with the indigenous or traditional. As that pertains to what I'm listening to right now, [it's] music from different parts of the world translating modern technology, or the other way around, modern technology translating music from different parts of the world. I'm coming across a lot of pretty interesting stuff these days that I would categorize that way. 

TRANSLLUSION

Many years ago, a close friend of mine, Operator X — who is very much into the techno and electronic music scene from around the world — introduced this song to me. It's quite an interesting piece of music, [and] something that really inspired a lot of the way I'm thinking about electronic instruments these days too. 

HIROSHI YOSHIMURA

Hiroshi Yoshimura is an ambient composer from Japan whose music I've been following over the years. This is something he did in the mid-'80s from an album called "Flora." It's a beautiful piece of music. 

MORT GARSON

We're going to be speaking about weird electronic music this whole time, but another very strange composer I'm a fan of would be Mort Garson. He's a real interesting [and] creative electronic musician. A lot of the time, people compare my Frankie Reyes releases to Garson's sound: a way of using these weird synthesizers to make almost contemporary classical music. This [track] is kind of cool, because he's pointing at island music with this composition.

STEVE ROACH

Steve Roach is one of my favorite electronic musicians, and also a friend of mine. The thing that's really interesting about this piece in particular is that it's a marriage between the ambient space synth that he's known for, and his Australian [Aboriginal] Dreamtime concept music. That's really what this is about: it's kind of an homage to Australia.

ROBERTO MUSCI

"Lazy Raga" is another really beautiful marriage of electronic ambience with sample-based Indian raga music. Roberto Musci is one of my favorite musicians who's done a lot of music that is, in essence, a combination of electronic music with folkloric music from different parts of the world, but he's from Italy himself. Just real fascinating stuff. The world is endless; the music doesn't stop.

Check out KCRW’s other Private Playlists:

Pete Tong is comfortable with musical melancholy
La Santa Cecilia's La Marisoul finds hope for the future in music
Bob Mould seeks artful inspiration from Janelle Monáe, Elliott Smith, and the Byrds
San Cha believes we can create, no matter our circumstances
M. Ward is listening to music by his influences’ influencers
Alice Bag is doing the live music withdrawal dance
Madame Gandhi on Fela, feminism, and the bravery of Brian Eno and Jon Hassell
Aimee Mann looks past the snark to appreciate Steely Dan’s craft
Adrian Younge and Ali Shaheed Muhammad on finding solace in Gil Scott-Heron
Madame Gandhi on Fela, feminism, and the bravery of Brian Eno and Jon Hassell
TOKiMONSTA is rediscovering her love for the guitar
Jeff Parker is busy studying music in hibernation mode
Dorian Wood is walking a tightrope and trying not to look down
Thundercat on the importance of albums as a journey
Neon Indian shares music for your inner monologue
Mia Doi Todd recommends space-age sounds and Brazilian tunes
Hand Habits’ Meg Duffy offers an earthy soundtrack for the homebound
Chris Cohen shares Algerian synth funk, avant jazz, and more far-out sounds
Inara George shares tips for raising music-literate kids during quarantine
Go Betty Go’s Nicolette Vilar shares her love of Mazzy Star, Dusty Springfield, and more
Mary Lattimore is communing with musical kindred spirits
Ndidi O selects music for a melancholy autumn
Julianna Barwick recommends music with emotion and experimentation
Private Playlist: A playlist featuring seven of our favorite segments
From Bootsy Collins to Machinedrum: DUCKWRTH draws on the classic and contemporary
Maral recommends music that creates its own world, from Nico to Panda Bear
Lyric Jones shares her most rewindable music selections, from Georgia Anne Muldrow to Benny the Butcher
Open Eagle Mike stans The Breeders’ dark purple jams and DJ Jazzy Jeff’s musical velvet painting
From Tigran Hamasyan to Sam Prekop, Machinedrum recommends music for self-reflection
Prince, D’Angelo, and Pharrell make Channel Tres’ playlist of songs that created his musical world in Compton
From Minnie Riperton to Xinxin, Qur’an Shaheed’s Private Playlist gets to her inner truth during quarantine
Karriem Riggins drums up a Private Playlist with Miles Davis, Elvin Jones, and Kleeer
Herbie Hancock and Cibo Matto launch Xinxin’s Private Playlist soundtrack for interplanetary travel
Lady Blackbird’s Private Playlist honors the fearless music of Billie Holiday, Donny Hathaway, and more
From Paul Simon to Tune-Yards, LA songwriter Gabe Goodman reflects on the musical masters of his quarantine for Private Playlist
How music helped Genevieve Artadi fight isolation and stay connected in a long distance relationship

Playlist
[PLAYLIST GOES HERE]