Carlos y Gaby: La Voz Sabia De Los Cosmos
Alpha Pup

Given that Carlos y Gaby is a collaborative venture involving Carlos Niño and vocalist and keyboard player Gaby Hernandez, one could be forgiven for expecting La Voz Sabia De Los Cosmos to include some fair share of beatwork, considering that Niño produced such memorable beat-based material with Fabian Ammon on their Ammoncontact releases. But La Voz Sabia De Los Cosmos is anything but beat-based. Instead, it's a phantasmagoric travelogue, a soundtrack in search of a science-fiction fantasy film—though the material is so vividly cinematic there's little need to supplement the astral imagery that naturally forms in one's mind.

The recording began innocently enough when Niño wrote and sent songs to Hernandez while they worked together on projects for Ammoncontact, Build An Ark, and The Life Force Trio. Over time, the materials they were developing coalesced into a loose narrative about a spaceship journey undertaken by adventurous lovers. Sonically, the recording is collage-like in character with snatches of music and field recordings melded into an unpredictable stream. Voices, instruments, and natural sounds (crashing waves, wind, helicopter, bird twitter, crowd noise) and instruments swim in an oceanic fusion of Latin swing, flute and synth melodies, and hip-hop funk. The honk of a baritone sax and sonar blips rub shoulders during “In The Whirl Emote (Through The Kaleidoscopic Veil),” an Indian music intro switches into atmospheric hip-hop in “Universal Peace (Strung Between Stars Over A River Of Milk),” and a lovely vocal and keyboard melody briefly arises in “Forever Waterfalls (Love Will Find A Way)” before vanishing. In the meditative electronic soundscape “Celestial Shores DNA Codes (Recipes For Love),” burbling synth chatter suggests alien beings communicating. The album's framed by two versions of “Space Hammock (Awoken At Dawn By The Birds Of Andromeda),” the first brimming with orgasmic sighs and tinkles and the second an uncharacteristically restrained makeover by bon vivant Daedelus. A hint of hip-hop infuses the psychedelic flow of “Lunar Eclipse (So Close, I Feel I Could Touch It)” but, generally speaking, beats are secondary in this context. Niño and Hernandez are clearly more intent on weaving a mini-encyclopedia of sonic material into a vibrantly coloured patchwork.

March 2008