Published Jan 25, 2017This debut by NYC-based Gabriel Garzón-Montano was a long time coming. By his own admission, the classically trained artist's sound is a product of his environment and French-Colombian background: Bach meets cumbia meets '70s soul/funk. And yes, his voice is the one sampled on Drake's "Jungle" track — his 2014 single "6 8" is the one chopped on 2015 album/mixtape If You're Reading This It's Too Late — but while he's recognized the opportunity and visibility he's been presented with, he's been mindful of not letting it define him.
Jardín hits the ground running. The entire project was meticulously crafted with an analog sonic motif, each instrument tracked direct to tape and wrapped with multi-layered vocals. Opening track "Trial" sets the stage with its Todd Rundgren-esque pop orchestral mode, revealing the multi-instrumental's technique and assorted reference points. Themes of love, struggle, hope and life uncertainty abound: The Moog strut of "Fruitflies" leans hard on its Stevie Wonder sensibilities, the soul clap of "The Game" boasts a head nodding groove, the slow burn of "Cantiga" simmers in snare-inflected funk and the tandem of "Crawl" and "My Balloon" float along on pop-minded funk sounds.
Jardín serves straight-up soul and funk with a pop sensibility. Garzón-Montano's vocals are solid and serviceable, the album production robust and efficient and the musical mindset supported by a strong level of craft. (Stones Throw)