jack gardner
Photo by Nick Helderman

As I put my ear buds in to let the music fill my ears I am instantly transported. I am walking down a street in Paris on a blissfully beautiful spring day. The sun warms my face as I watch people sip coffee, eat crepes and whiz past me on bicycles. Couples walk hand in hand; stylish girls skip past me with baskets filled with fresh baked bread and bundles of flowers, the world is sun stained in golden light. This is a dream. This is reality. This is Jacco Gardner’s latest album Hypnophobia.

You’d never know that Dutch multi-instrumentalist Gardner was only 27-years-old when you listen to his music. Mastering several instruments as a child (clarinet, guitar, recorder, violin, keyboards and bass among others) and countless more as an adult, his musical leanings use the experimentation of the late 60’s and early 70’s as a springboard. Rooted in dreamy psychedelic rock, Gardner is able to blend a lush and layered instrumentation into his music that provides a fresh and interesting sonic meal.

“Find Yourself,” the third song on this 10-track album, typifies the washed out and yet glittery sound of Hypnophobia. Gardner’s voice floats above a throbbing drum and bass, “Let it take you to a summer sea/ When the wind comes down you wonder where you’ve been” he continues on, “Don’t fight the feeling/ Just let it in/ You know you need it/ Like the sunlight on your skin.” It may be a song that hints at the fear of sleep and dreaming, which the album title Hypnophobia refers to, but it is a majestic track that encapsulates the unique sound that Gardner has created.

The title track off the album shows off Gardner’s talent on the harpsichord; invoking the whirling dream world with a plodding bass punctuated by fuzzy guitar, ethereal keys, and sealed with Gardner’s airy voice. It’s clear why he’s referred to as the “baroque pop prince” after listening to this track.

Hypnophobia weaves and prances its way across your mind capturing the imagination and will conjure up your own far off dreamland with its master blend of vintage reminiscing and contemporary styling. Gardner’s talent and bravery as a musician are undeniable and he best sums up Hypnophobia when he said, “Touring all over the world has completely changed me. I’ve seen places I’d never seen before or didn’t even know existed. I think Hypnophobia has got some of its adventurous character from all those amazing experiences.” And it definitely is where it got its fantasy meets reality quality.

Album Review by Anne-Marie Schiefer



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Jacco Gardenr “Find Yourself”

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