Frankie Reyes (aka Gabriel Reyes-Whittaker) is back with Originalitos, his second album for Stones Throw. Throughout eight original compositions created on the analogue Oberheim synthesizer, Frankie Reyes draws on his Puerto Rican heritage and the sounds of everyday life.
Working within a variety of genres, Reyes-Whittaker has released music as Gifted & Blessed, The Abstract Eye, and as one half of the duo The Steoples, whose second album for Stones Throw will be released next year. Reyes-Whittaker met Stones Throw founder Peanut Butter Wolf at an event celebrating Latin American modernism. There, he came up with the idea for his debut album Boleros Valses y Mas as Frankie Reyes, which Wolf immediately wanted to put out on the label.
While Boleros Valses y Mas reimagined Latin standards, Originalitos takes us inside Reyes-Whittaker’s musical world, “bringing together my classical roots and my present-day modern life”. After asking “how might I use the synthesizer to explore my heritage?” for Originalitos, he restricted himself to the same set of tools as Boleros Valses y Mas using just one Oberheim synthesizer, a MIDI sequencer and an effects unit. “I was inspired to create another album in a similar vein as the last one but consisting exclusively of my short original compositions,” he says.
Each work on Originalitos is filled with symbolism referring to Reyes-Whittaker’s lineage and implied within the track titles, which reference his family, the passing of time and “Puerto Rican sweetness”. Influenced by the traditional music of Puerto Rico, the music of Sylvia Rexach and other Latin American composers, and synth-based musicians such as Mort Garson, Frankie Reyes compositions combine ancestral sounds with contemporary technologies.