Gabriel Rios
Flore


4.0
excellent

Review

by Trifolium USER (19 Reviews)
February 24th, 2021 | 45 replies


Release Date: 02/12/2021 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An album both tranquil and exciting.

Silence can play such an immensely satisfying role in music. It can spice things up without actually doing anything, creating tension, lending more weight to the sounds that surround it. It creates space, and can lead to quite the funky groove. Of course, some artists can take it a little (too?) far, culminating in the infamous 4'33" by John Cage.

Still, some artists use it to great effect. A very recent example can be found on Flore, the fifth studio album by Gabriel Rios. Rios was born in Puerto Rico, but moved to Belgium when he turned 18. He had a big hit in the Benelux with Broad Daylight in the early 00s, a track that already explored the possibilities of silence. It was an excellent song, and it brought him a successful career. Afterwards, Rios released several albums, exploring different sides of his rich background. Yet for some reason, Flore, which was released in February, 2021, feels like his first truly confident and fully fleshed out statement.

The album is brimming with lovely touches and small experiments. This time, he focussed on the sounds of his Puerto Rican youth, creating stripped down and barely recognisable versions of songs that his father would play. His father, who suffered from Alzheimer’s during the writing period, has been a big inspiration to Rios musically. Six out of the album’s eight covers were introduced to Rios by him. Flore is Rios’ first fully Spanish record, but it does not at all sound like what you would expect when hearing it was built up out of Latin classics from the 1960s. Describing it to Belgian newspaper De Tijd, Rios jokingly referred to it as his Gothic Caribbean Record.

And, weirdly enough, that statement is very applicable to Flore. It is full of dark, brooding moments, but keeping it light and elegant with stately string sections (Marinera), touches of flute (La Torre, can’t wait for Summer to blast this through the open windows), sudden breakouts of choir, that recede as quickly as they came (Flore), and soft hand claps (El Ratón), among others. But throughout all of the record’s 45 minutes, silence is a recurring theme. It creates so much room and space, that it is an impressive feat that the record did not collapse. The title track, for instance, slowly meanders into a section that features a soft drum, with some echoing synths in the background, and nothing else to distract the listener.

Ausencia, one of the album’s early highlights, incorporates all of these aspects into a gorgeous number, with Rios singing in all registers accessible to him, from low, soulful voice, to higher belting, and even some tastefully applied autotune. Luckily, even that divisive technique is used successfully here. But it is the infinite space to breathe in, the room left between the instruments and the singing, the silence, that makes it all work so successfully.



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user ratings (6)
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Trifolium
February 24th 2021


24213 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Love love love this, check it out!!!

Nocte
Staff Reviewer
February 24th 2021


14074 Comments


taking some time off the madness to throw a review around.

Digging: ACAUSAL INTRUSION - Nulitas

Trifolium
February 24th 2021


24213 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yes. I felt this was needed, since this is a cutie-pie of a record right here!

DePlazz
February 24th 2021


2837 Comments


Nice review, pos'd
I'm very familiar with Rios from Belgian radio. Never cared to check out an entire album by him, but this time I will.

Trifolium
February 24th 2021


24213 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks! And yes he is pretty hard to ignore around these parts haha, world famous in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg!



Hope you like what you hear if you check.

dedex
Contributing Reviewer
February 24th 2021


7832 Comments


Nice nice nice Trifo!

Also setting camp for Belgian love woohoo

DePlazz
February 24th 2021


2837 Comments


La Torre fits today's sunny weather for sure, love that track

Trifolium
February 24th 2021


24213 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

So many great artists active in Belgium! Seriously. Lovely stuff, weird but not too weird. And always wonderfully produced.



An Pierlé & White Velvet, Blackwave., this, dEUS, the Balthazar/J.Bernardt/Warhaus-gang, Tamino, Slumberland, etc. etc. etc.



@DePlazz: yes it totally does! Super lovely!

dedex
Contributing Reviewer
February 24th 2021


7832 Comments


DePlazz are you Belgian too? Are we actually 3 Belgians here?!

Trifolium
February 24th 2021


24213 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

There are more though dedex, Thalassic for instance.

dedex
Contributing Reviewer
February 24th 2021


7832 Comments


yes but Thalassic recently asked for his ratings to be wiped and never gave any news after that ☹

Trifolium
February 24th 2021


24213 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

...oh! Didn't know that! 😧

DePlazz
February 24th 2021


2837 Comments


Yup, Belgian right here! Bien étonné de se retrouver ensemble, as folks in the other part of the country would say, haha. I'm Flemish myself. I had already gathered from some threads that Thalassic and Dedex were Belgian too, didn't know about Trifolium until today. I do think Thalassic's still around tho.
And yes, lots of good musical stuff coming from Belgium :]

Trifolium
February 24th 2021


24213 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nope, I'm a noorderbuur, from The Netherlands! But I think dedex was referring to Bedex, who is (confusingly) also Belgian!

dedex
Contributing Reviewer
February 24th 2021


7832 Comments


aiiiiight a grand total of 4 Belgian dudes here who'd have imagined
I'm a Brussels boi, erg leuk om een ​​andere inwoner van het vlakke land te ontmoeten!

parksungjoon
February 24th 2021


31159 Comments


thats like half the country

Digging: Make a Change...Kill Yourself - II

Trifolium
February 24th 2021


24213 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Imagine that, half the country being here! 6,000,000 extra Sput users!

Pangea
February 24th 2021


6416 Comments


wat een heerlijke Belgische thread. Will check this

Digging: Charles Mingus - Tijuana Moods

DePlazz
February 24th 2021


2837 Comments


G(h)ent represent! Nice to know we can chat some Nederlands from time to time. Thalassic is from Limburg if I recall correctly.
@Pangea en nog wat goed volk erbij!

Pangea
February 24th 2021


6416 Comments


Oh cool, definitely wanna visit Gent someday. Hoorn (now Amsterdam) checking in!



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