Gabriel Garzón-Montano is a Brooklyn-born-and-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, whose aesthetic and influence reflect not just his French-Colombian heritage and the wild, multiculturalism that’s familiar to a native New Yorker, as his own music draws from Bach sonatas, cumbia, funk, soul, but also the influence of his mother, who was a member of the Philip Glass Ensemble in the 1990s. As Garzón-Montano explains in press notes his mother is the reason he loves music, and her rigorous classical instruction along with her painstaking attention to detail, which influenced his creative process.
Garzón-Montano’s long-awaited full-length effort Jardín comes on the heels of a three year period of intense touring, writing and recording. The 2014 release of his debut EP Bishouné: Alma del Hula caught the attention of Lenny Kravitz, who invited the Brooklyn-born-and-based multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter to open for him during that year’s European tour. After playing Wembley Arena, Garzón-Montano received a call notifying him that his song “6 8” would be sampled on Drake‘s If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late — and as a result, Garzón-Montano quickly found himself with a rapidly growing international profile, which resulted in tours opening for Glass Animals and his renowned Stones Throw Records labelmate Mayer Hawthorne.
Jardín was recorded with his mentor, analog recording guru Henry Hirsch at Waterfront Studios in Hudson, NY last year and during the recording sessions Garzón-Montano tracked drums, bass, guitar, piano and synths directly to 2-inch tape, and then added percussion, digital programming and several layers of his own vocals to create the album’s overall lush sound — a sound that reportedly nods at Stevie Wonder‘s Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants. As Garzón-Montano explains in press notes “I wanted to make music that would remind people how beautiful life is – how delicate their hearts are. A garden is full of life, and growth, and beauty. I named the album Jardín hoping for it to create a space for healing when people put it on. I’ve always wanted to make music that is healing, comforting, and funky.” But just underneath the surface may arguably be some of the Brooklyn-born-and-based singer/songwriter and multi-instruemtalist’s most politically charged material he’s written to date, as the songs on the album reportedly focus on the struggles and uncertainties of living in America today, the complications and joys of love, and so on.
Jardín’s first single “Crawl” reveals a sound that effortlessly meshes hip-hop, 90s neo-soul and contemporary pop as ambient synths, tweeter and woofer rattling beats, twinkling keys, a wobbling bass line and Garzón-Montano’s sultry vocals are wrapped around an infectious, swaggering and carefully crafted hook and slick production.
Directed by Santiago Carrasquilla and Pablo Delcan employs a relatively simple concept — the first half features Garzón-Montano singing and dancing about as neon bright geometric shapes dance and dart about him in a psychedelic fashion and the second half features the Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter and a drummer performing the last section of the song.