NXNE 2015 :: Jacco Gardner

NXNE2015-JaccoGardner-1I’ll admit, it took me a few songs before I could really get into Jacco Gardner’s set, but with each passing track and I found myself bopping more and more and more.

Between the whistling synths, the deep-reaching bass and the soft echoey vocals, Gardner’s sound is very particular. The entire thing is very instrument and pretty experiential. There are loads of synth over lots fuzz and other miscellaneous noises.

One song features this organ-like synth casting a foggy filter over everything and the slow, while hushed vocals keep the songs from getting you too excited – though the music, hyping drums and clanging keyboards do try

My first impression is that it’s not really my thing, but for the genre it’s not bad. Regardless of what I think, though, the crowd is loving it – the dance floor is packed (packed!) and still more people are disappearing into the crowd, probably to sway to the music while holding their loved one, contemplating life or something.

But, at some point I find myself wondering if it was just that opener that was the kinda downer and super-experimental song. The rest of what Gardner offers beyond the halfway mark of his set is more upbeat – you can at least tap your toes to it.

NXNE2015-JaccoGardner-2The group then twists and swims into surf territory, holding it there with softly echoing guitars, a simple drum beat and a blooming bass. In another song, an echoey pedal gives the guitar an almost sitar-like sound, while eerie halloweeny-type sounds – zippy synths, and nasally vocals – give other tracks, like ‘Frankenstein’ a fun, spooky feel.

That’s where Gardner’s strengths certainly lie, in the eerie surf marsh they’ve created. Even their instrumental songs in this space really shine – and might bevel be their best work.

The songs do kind of blend together, probably on account of that foggy filter – Instagram’s Reyes, if you will. But that doesn’t seem to shush any real experimentation from the group. In fact, they seem a lot more willing to try different (if purely out-there) things, and when you learn they’re from the Netherlands, it makes a lot more sense.

Overall, Jacco Gardner might not give you something you’re able to all-out dance to, but it certainly gives you loads to groove to – and that’s good enough for me.

For more on Jacco Gardner, visit his website.

And to see photos from the show, visit (and like) our Facebook page.

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