It’s hard not to associate the number 404 with broken links and online cul-de-sacs. Not so with GB‘s gorgeous FACT mix – possibly our dreamiest session of the year so far.
Gabriel Reyes-Whittaker – better known as GB, or, on occasion, Gifted & Blessed – is one of the old guards of the ’00s Los Angeles beat scene, releasing on the influential Sound In Colour label alongside the likes of Exile and SA-RA circa 2004/5. Debut album Soundtrack To Sunrise did what it said on the tin, offering woozy head-nod and broken-beat with the sort of neo-soul flourishes that send Gilles Peterson into paroxysms. Then, inexplicably, Reyes-Whittaker vanished, disappearing from the musical landscape for half a decade.
Since his return to recording in 2009, Reyes-Whittaker has made up for lost time, releasing across a wide range of aliases and labels. As GB, he’s made gilt-edged acid (The Provider EP), shimmering computer funk (the Eglo-released The Abstract Eye EP), and one of our absolute favourite Bandcamp releases of 2013. He’s knocked out exotic beat music as Julian Abelar,minted his own Gifted & Blessed imprint, and hopped onto Kyle Hall’s Wild Oats imprint as The Reflektor – his outlet for cosmic Mayan techno.
New album Within These Machines sees Reyes-Whittaker surrendering creative agency to his gadgets and magic boxes. Made up entirely of live, single-take recordings, Within These Machines sees Reyes-Whittaker conduct his gizmos, pre-programmed to play themselves autonomously, using MIDI and triggering mechanisms. The results range from chirruping techno to glossy ambient, and make for one of his most satisfying full-length statements to date.
GB’s FACT session, titled Within These Cassettes, has been conceived as a companion piece to that record – a collage of analogue synthesiser pieces, ripped from Reyes-Whittaker’s cassette collection and carefully spliced together. No tracklist, but we can tell you that the results tilt between jangling up-tempo fare and darker drone pieces – enthusiasts of Daphne Oram, Tangerine Dream and Vangelis will find plenty to tuck into. He’s even slung us some bespoke artwork for the mix, available below. How to listen? Over to GB: “This mix is best enjoyed through headphones in a calm and comfortable space.”