Review: Jacco Gardner – Somnium

It seems like I’ve turned into more of a a review blog recently. Always gotta try new things and I need to have more relatively short reads. In this post, I’ll be reviewing Jacco Gardner’s new album, Somnium.

Who is Jacco Gardner?

I’ve mentioned Jacco Gardner in my Top 100 songs post. I mentioned that I liked his 2013 album, Cabinet of Curiosities. So before we get into the review, I’ll give a little background on the musician. There’s not much information on him in English, so I’ll have to use my knowledge of other languages here.

Jacco Gardner was born in 1988 in Hoorn, in the Netherlands and mostly plays psychedelic music heavily inspired by sounds of the 60s. Before he was a solo musician, he was The Skywalkers and synthpop group Lola Kite.

In 2012, he went solo and released his debut single, “Clear the Air”.

In 2015, he released his second album, Hypnophobia. My favourite tracks are “Brightly”, “Find Yourself”, “Before the Dawn”, “Hypnophobia”, and “All Over”. This album still delivers that psychedelic sound that you remember from Cabinet of Curiosities.

Three years later, he released his third album, Somnium. Moving on to the review.

Review: Somnium

Jacco Gardner’s particular inspirations are a bit different from the previous ones. Tim Sendra of AllMusic wrote that between his last album and this one, Gardner lived in Lisbon and spent his time reading a lot of sci fi novels and listening to futuristic music like Tangerine Dream and Brian Eno.

Instrumentals aren’t anything new to Jacco Gardner listeners, but this album is different from the last two, as there are no vocals.

The album begins with the space rock sounding “Rising”. It gives me some 80s Stranger Things vibes. The next two tracks, “Volva” and “Lagrangian Point” use guitars and combine it with space age sounds. I love the keyboards in “Past Navigator.”  “Levania” and “Eclipse” are highlights in the middle of the album. “Utopos” reminds me of early electronic music of the 70s. I also like “Privolva”, which reminds me a bit of Kraftwerk. The album ends on a good note with the title track, “Somnium” – which reminds me a bit more of his earlier work.

This is not true 60s psychedelic, it’s more a space rock/psychedelia hybrid, which a lot of modern psychedelia is moving towards. Overall the album flows really well and it’s chill. I can definitely see this music being used in a movie. I appreciate a good ambient instrumental album and I like that this stands out in the sea of music. I don’t think Jacco Gardner fans would feel left out or alienated by this new album.

Overall, I would recommend it and I’d suggest you give it a listen if you like electronic sci fi psychedelic with a bit of throwback elements to it. It’s great background music for study – I’ve been multitasking while listening to this album and writing the review and I approve of this music.

Shout out to my good friend and Topaz level Patron, Patrick.

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