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Jacco Gardner is a baroque pop multi instrumentalist. He creates a unique sound by combining the sounds of harpsichord, strings, flutes and other classical instruments with raw psychedelic effects.

“Fading Cosmos” and “Autumn In Lisbon” were both recorded in Lisbon during the Somnium recording sessions, but they were not included on the album. The reason for this is that they are while being thematically similar, significantly different in their approach. Somnium was intended as one 43-minute journey, while these two tracks respectively interpret the concept of transformation within 8 minutes of improvisation. The concept of a journey of exploration, mixing cinematic and electronic sounds with a more jazz and folk, live improvisation type of performance has been very inspiring while working on this EP. I’ve been listening to a lot more jazz and progressive than I had before, mainly because I was introduced to a lot of really inspiring stuff by my girlfriend María Pandiello, who is performing Somnium with me right now on synths. Her presence has been very influential, but also the sense of adventure and discovery she brings. Some influences I feel like were major inspirations on this EP are Popol Vuh, (early) Vangelis, Bo Hansson, (early) Patrick Cowley, Francis Bebey, Piero Umiliani, Silver Apples and of course some (mainly Saucerful Of Secrets era) Pink Floyd. All these artists come from different parts of the world, but I still see them very connected on a basic principle, creating a psychedelic progressive trip through the process of experimentation with electronics, a foundation of Synthedelia. 

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During the creative process, the line between what was calculated and what was a total “happy accident” became very blurry, and I just went with that, which resulted in the type of sound that it has. Live sequencing synthesisers while jamming to this on other instruments, like bass or electric piano, seems like a pretty basic concept, but I had not really explored this interaction and it’s full potential in depth before. I found it a very exciting and liberating feeling, to feel both focused and precise and totally free at the same time while working alone in the studio. I’ve always been able to immersive myself in something very intimate and personal, and to really escape to another place while I’m working alone. Also, the mood of Lisbon and the area where I live became very present, as I often went on solitary walks, mainly at night. To me, the city holds something almost mystical and very powerful, which can be very present in the area I live, and it undoubtedly found its way into these two tracks.

The first ideas for “Fading Cosmos” came after conversations I had with my brother, about the tragic reality that the endlessly rich cosmos around us is rapidly becoming invisible because of an increase of artificial light, leaving us in the solitary darkness of human progress. I wanted to offer some potential visibility into our cosmic neighbourhood with this track, but also to escape into a world of wonder and mystery.

“Autumn in Lisbon” was written after walking around on a beautiful but stormy autumn day in Lisbon, not long after I moved there. The air was full of changes and a mysterious future was showing her powerful presence while hiding her face.

Both tracks feature acoustic guitar, synths, bass, drums, percussion and electric piano, all greatly manipulated via analogue tape. It was mastered by Simon Heyworth, who did an amazing job on it. I felt the same about his work on Somnium, so I naturally asked him for this EP as well, and I’m very happy with it. Every time I can feel the immense experience he has in making otherworldly creations feel truly immersive. I’ll likely work more with him in the future if he’s up for it as well.

released June 14th, 2019 “Fading Cosmos” is released on 12″ vinyl on Full Time Hobby (ROTW) and Excelsior Recordings (BENELUX), and digitally on Polyvinyl Record Co. (US).

Jacco Gardner

Here we have 16 minutes of new music from Jacco Gardner out June 14th. Listen to Side A, Fading Cosmos, now.

Jacco follows up 2018’s sonically adventurous, instrumental album “Somnium” with a new 16 minute EP “Fading Cosmos.” Written and recorded during the “Somnium” sessions in Lisbon, Portugal, Jacco looks to the stars once again for inspiration. Where Somnium was deeply influenced by Kepler and his stargazing innovations, Fading Cosmos asks “what’s next?”

Korg synths bubble and fizz, basslines carry the groove and a beautifully picked acoustic guitar line comes together to bring to mind the work of Michael Rother and Conrad Schnitzler but with the lightness of one of Jacco’s big inspirations – The two tracks were mastered by Simon Heyworth (Eno, Oldfield, King Crimson) and are cut at 45rpm on black vinyl.

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Jacco Gardner is a baroque pop multi instrumentalist. He creates a unique sound by combining the sounds of harpsichord, strings, flutes and other classical instruments with raw psychedelic effects.

releases June 14th, 2019

“Somnium” is a nod to the novel of the same name, written in 1608 by Johannes Kepler and is regarded as the first ever science fiction novel. “This book fascinates me because it was basically Kepler travelling in his mind to a non-existent world while describing it, and his journey, with amazing detail. Many of his imagined sensations are actually really what happens when one travels into space, which happened almost four hundred years later. You could call it a vision of the future through his dreams, and I find this aspect very mysterious and powerful.”

This form of mind travel is what Jacco has set out to create in a sonic, almost alchemic, capacity. Hence the reason for his vocals to be left out of this spiritual journey. “I deliberately removed my voice from the experience, as it made it more difficult for me to achieve the intended state of mind. I think it makes the journey more interesting, more deep, and more intimate. I didn’t feel the need to show my face while one drifts away into thought. Somnium is a visionary experience. The album is more than just a trip, it is about contact with a deeper – hidden – reality.”

If the concepts behind this record sound otherworldly and intricately woven then Jacco has also succeeded in making a record that does the same. Analogue synths hum and glide pristinely, bass lines dance buoyantly, dense atmospheres build and form and thoughtfully crafted melodies come and go, floating around as though in space. There are nods to early pioneers of such dreamlike ambience and cosmic exploration – Bo Hansson, Vangelis, Cluster, Tangerine Dream, Eno and Oldfield (the album was mastered by Simon Heyworth whose production credits include the latter three, including Tubular Bells) – but it also exists as a futuristic pursuit, one that is chasing something ahead as well as exploring the past. This is because to Jacco both are equally valid. “The past has always felt very much alive to me and so full of mystery that I have to conclude that the present and the future are probably no different.” 

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Now living in Lisbon and immersed in literature, cinema, philosophy and with new winding streets to wander, Gardner’s ideal listening scenario is to take the album for a walk yourselves, consume it complete and without interruption. “Somnium could be seen as a tribute to the album, a dying format in today’s fast-paced society. It can often be difficult to enjoy a meaningful uninterrupted moment. This album is where true mystery and wonder is waiting to be discovered.”

releases November 23, 2018

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Jacco Gardner has announced his new album “Somnium” for release on 23rd November.

Gardner has been known to create swirling psychedelic pop boosted by his rich, resonate and baroque voice but on his third album, his vocals are gone and in their place is an equally seamless melodic exploration but an instrumental one, with a synthesized occult edge. Somnium is a nod to the novel of the same name, written in 1608 by Johannes Kepler and is regarded as the first ever science fiction novel. “This book fascinates me because it was basically Kepler travelling in his mind to a non-existent world while describing it, and his journey, with amazing detail.”

This form of mind travel is what Jacco has set out to create in a sonic, almost alchemic, capacity. Hence the reason for his vocals being left out of this spiritual journey. “I deliberately removed my voice from the experience, as it made it more difficult for me to achieve the intended state of mind. I think it makes the journey more interesting, more deep, and more intimate. I didn’t feel the need to show my face while one drifts away into thought. Somnium is a visionary experience. The album is more than just a trip, it is about contact with a deeper – hidden – reality.”

Now living in Lisbon and immersed in literature, cinema, philosophy and with new winding streets to wander, Gardner’s ideal listening scenario is to take the album for a walk yourselves, consume it complete and without interruption.

“Somnium could be seen as a tribute to the album, a dying format in today’s fast-paced society. It can often be difficult to enjoy a meaningful uninterrupted moment. This album is where true mystery and wonder is waiting to be discovered.”

Jacco has plans to bring Somnium on the road early next year and promises to be the perfect accompaniment to this exceptional listening experience.

The upcoming album “Somnium”, out November 23.