Gabriel Garzón-Montano: Jardín
Drake enthusiasts will immediately recognize the voice of multi-instrumentalist Gabriel Garzón-Montano from the chorus of “Jungle,” the penultimate track on his 2015 mixtape If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late. The sampling process was similar to what went down in the production of “Pt. 2” on The Life of Pablo: just as Kanye dug “Panda” and brought in two of Desiigner’s verses to his track, Drake was a fan of “Six Eight,” the opener to Garzón-Montano’s 2014 EP Bishounè: Alma del Huila, and chose to implement its refrain as the chorus in his song. While this brush with celebrity may have been his introduction to the mainstream, Garzón-Montano went on to serve as the opening act for two major tours: Lenny Kravitz in Europe and Mayer Hawthorne across the U.S. Though noteworthy in their own right, these supporting roles only comprise the prologue to the central narrative of his career: he’s determined to carve his own niche in the music community and his first major-label release is a testament to his success in the endeavor. Jardín is a delicious mix of new wave soul and funk in which a pinch of psychedelic only sweetens the blend on an almost entirely self-produced record (and if you’ve seen him perform you were likely impressed by his ability to deliver a variety of instrumentals as a one-man band). On “Sour Mango” he brings a wide range of instruments – hand clapping, organ, violin, synthesizer – to back his cries of longing for a distant lover; “Long Ears” showcases a pure falsetto that’s anchored by a smooth bass line and a hint of steel drum. Simpler compositions like “Crawl” are just as powerful, utilizing little more than a keyboard and electric guitar for the rhythm and a soulful inflection in his vocals that may remind Hawthorne fans of the first few numbers on How Do You Do. Taken as a whole, however, there’s no direct comparison for Garzón-Montano’s work, which is sure to continue garnering admiration on account of his ability to traverse genres in a style that’s entirely his own.