Gabriel Garzon Montano
When I lived in NYC I used to walk the streets listening to my iPod. I’d stick my earbuds in, point my feet in the direction I needed to go, and let the music transport me—my body relying on autopilot-maneuvers to get me to my destination. Waiting for the flashing hand to turn into the little white man or sitting on the subway next to a stranger, I was in my own world with the music. Those iPods and their iconic white headphones plugged the ears of thousands of New York pedestrians, creating individual soundtracks as distinctive as the pockets or purses that carried them. Now that I live in L.A and drive everywhere I go; I sometimes miss that musical intimacy that people in walking cities like NYC and London enjoy. The experience of music is different when it’s in your ear—so close that you pick up on sounds otherwise missed when amplified. When I hear Gabriel Montano Garzon’s EP Bishoune: Alma del Huila I am reminded of that listening experience and the mood a crisp Fall afternoon in NYC can put you in—the rhythmic beat present in each step you take down whatever avenue.
Although Montano’s album was released in February of 2014 (I’m LATE!) his music is like fresh air to me, reminding me of the first time I heard Who Is Jill Scott or Baduism. Yes, the music is that chill with a mixture of foot-tapping beats and sorrowful tunes that swing. If you close your eyes and really listen, you can hear traces of Bill Withers with the brightness of Lionel Richie cutting through the melancholy. But don’t let my focus on the album’s moodiness fool you. Montano, a native New Yorker and graduate of Purchase College’s Conservatory of Music has songs for every season. The upbeat sound of the summer dominates the single “Everything is Everything” and “Keep On Running” is an anthem of steadfast-survival for anyone reflecting on the daily hustle of life. Whether you’re two glasses into your favorite bottle of wine or you’ve found some other herbal refreshment to unwind with, you’ll be lulled into R&R with songs like “Naeja” and “Pour Maman.”
With only 6 tracks (and the same 6 tracks reproduced for the deep house, electronic lovers of urban beats you can dance to) the listener gets equal parts radio edit and remix all in one album. Hearing the EP’s instrumental complexity it’s hard to believe that this longtime student of violin, guitar, drums and piano is responsible for performing every solitary sound you hear in Bishoune. Aside from some basic studio techniques for looping purposes, it’s all him—a clear indication of the musicianship coursing through Montano’s Colombian/French veins.
Get this album; follow Montano on Facebook; and check out his tour dates because I have a feeling he’s gonna reach the stratosphere with his musical influence.