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Los Angeles based Gifted and Blessed, aka Gabriel Reyes-Whittaker, has created genre-defying electronic soul tracks, solo and under many monikers, as well as for artists including Kelela, Steve Spacek and J DaVeY, integrating the technological, spiritual and ancestral in his works.  The gifted producer has built his extraordinary music religiously upon three pillars. But what do these actually mean to him.. ? We asked, he explained… (originally published in House Of Music, issue 5)

TECHNOLOGICAL

“Like with all electronic music, technology is at the center of my musical process. In my case, I am most fascinated by and most familiar with analog electronics, particularly vintage synthesizers and drum machines. I used to be a purist to the point where if it wasn’t vintage analog gear I wouldn’t touch it, but I’m much more flexible about how I work these days. If it sounds good to me, I am open to playing with it, regardless of when it was made or if the circuitry is purely analog. I do have a preference for hardware instruments rather than soft synths, but again, if it sounds good, I won’t count it out. I prefer and am most familiar with composing music using MIDI to allow my various electronic instruments to talk to each other, which also allows me to duplicate what I do in recordings in a live setting as well as to replay the same music on different instruments if and when I choose to. Basically I stay open to the technology that is available to me at the time. I think this is the case with all musicians though. Even classically trained musicians who play acoustic instruments are utilizing a form of technology. I would say that technology in some form is at the center of every musician’s process.”

 

SPIRITUAL

“Making music for me is a pure spiritual process that has nothing to do with beliefs, religion, dogma or any other kind of rhetoric we like to use when talking about spirituality. In my eyes, this whole life experience and everything about it is spiritual. That includes all people (not just ones who identify as “spiritual”) as well as everything else. However, there is something to be said about having an awareness of the “spiritual” nature of reality. That is to say, it is important for me to stay in touch with the part of me that is aware of my spirituality. I do believe in a Creator, and I believe all art (and really everything else, too) comes from this Source. But again, I really try to avoid sounding too holier than thou or dogmatic when it comes to my relationship to that Source. I am humbled by it, and I give thanks everyday for the gifts I have been given, especially the gift of life itself. I honor the way spirituality has been expressed, observed and practiced throughout human history in all cultures. Ultimately, I know that I don’t really know anything when it comes down to it. Like everyone else, I’m here trying to figure this life stuff out in real time as I go through it. But what I love about the spirituality of music is that at its best, the mind isn’t in charge. All my favorite music seems to come from an inspiration that is separate from the process of thinking. I don’t think any of us can say how we create the music we make. It just comes through. If there was a code or formula to it, all music would be amazing, which of course is not the case.”

 

ANCESTRAL

“When I speak about the ancestral, I am still referring to my sense of spirituality. The ancestors no doubt influence my music on the deepest levels. I am not only speaking about my ancestors in my direct bloodline. I am talking about all of those who have come before me, both living and non-living. Everything that has come before this moment in time has contributed towards the way things are now. That, of course, includes music and art in general, but it also includes everything else about life. This is the nature of evolution as far as I can tell. All that has come before now has informed how things are now based on improvements suggested as a result of life’s failures. And at the same time, as we suffer from our mistakes and refuse to improve or change, we contribute more and more harm and pain to the world. From this perspective, I believe there is much to be learned from previous ways of living and from the traditions and values of our ancestors that can help us all live more abundantly, efficiently and healthily in general. I hope for this to play out through the music, too.”

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Out now! The Abstract Eye’s “Cool Warm Divine EP” holds five prolific electronic soul tracks – melodic techno by The Abstract Eye, better known as Gifted and Blessed. Originally released in 2011 on Valentine Connexion, now available again in a shiny new jacket.

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With a fixation for vintage electronic instruments, the extraordinarily gifted Gabriel Reyes-Whittaker creates striking electronic songs under many monikers, integrating the technological with the spiritual and ancestral in his music.

Tracklist:
1. Cool Warm Divine
2. Nobody Else
3. Twinkerbelly
4. The Unseen
5. Nobody Else Pt. 2

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