A quiet, snowy Monday like this one here at Conduit HQ begs for music with at least a touch of dreamy warmth, and evident traces of soothing lilt in the vocals. It should be smooth but (unlike current road conditions) not slick. Gaby Hernandez, a Chilean-American living in Los Angeles, hits all of those marks on Spirit Reflection, her latest release for Mr. Bongo.
Many of the songs were built on rough mixes or complete tracks created by LA-based multi-everything wiz Dexter Story, whose music forms the basis for five of Spirit Reflection’s 11 tracks (the Deluxe Edition adds 15 more in the shape of instrumentals and remixes). Hernandez added melodies and lyrics to Story's song structures, taking them from solid to sublime. Guest turns from current saxophone hero Kamasi Washington, Ammoncontact, Gifted & Blessed and Story himself, take the record from sublime to ridiculous(ly) good.
This one’s an album in the true and traditional sense: a suite of songs intentionally constructed to flow well together, the sum of its parts forming the whole. But (and fortunately), like a lot of music coming out these days, it’s hard to pin just one genre tag to Gaby Hernandez’s sound. Is it folk? Jazz? Electronica? Downtempo? Latin? After several listens, the answer, clearly, is "yes!"
On “Entranced,” Hernandez is joined by Washington and Story. Lean in close to the fire, and enjoy.
[Check out Conduit at our new home on Mixcloud. Listen to playlists sorted by channel or by curator, or create your own. It’s still the music you didn’t know you love, curated by humans for humans. We've also got a new website. Stop by and see what's up.]
You'll also hear Gaby Hernandez on Conduit in this TerraSonic set curated by Joel Davis (aka, me).