Yes, psychedelic music has had quite a renaissance of late.
The past year saw all manner of variations on the theme gain rave reviews, chart placements and accolades.
The 24-year-old maverick artist Jacco Gardner however is something else entirely, both light years ahead and 45 years behind his contemporaries. Syd Barrett was the initial flame that set the mind of this young Dutch native alight. In Barrett’s winsome arrangements and surreal wordplay he saw the possibilities of being able to recreate the shimmering childish delight and nightmarish fear of old 70's fairytale-like films like the Czechoslovakian masterpiece Valerie A Týden Divu by Jaromil Jires, the Swedish Bröderna Lejonhjärta and the sweet yet surreal patina of Studio Ghibli in music. Curt Boettcher, the similarly tortured American sunshine pop legend, is cited equally. And indeed, it is the disparate combination of the pastoral Lewis Carroll vision of London’s Middle Earth club combined with frighteningly complex Californian pocket symphonies that are signature in Gardner’s impressively detailed pieces. Cabinet Of Curiosities’ instrumental title track is certainly reminiscent of the best of Curt Boettcher's projects like The Millennium and Sagittarius with its playful baroque arrangements whilst ‘Puppets Dangling’ has a steely retro futurism, part Broadcast, part United States Of America, but with a far more delicate approach that recalls Nirvana or teenage Immediate signing Billy Nicholls. A toytown popsike feel is resplendent in ‘The Ballad Of Little Of Jane’ which has been rarely heard since Mark Wirtz did his thing at Abbey Road, Jeff Lynne was learning his craft with The Idle Race and Klaatu were being mistaken for The Beatles.
Recorded and engineered at his "Shadow Shoppe" Studio in Zwaag, The Netherlands, Cabinet Of Curiosities features Jacco playing every instrument (save the drums, deftly played by Jos van Tol) and was pre-mastered by Jan Audier – famed engineer of Dutch garage/psych heavies Q65, The Golden Earrings and The Motions on his vast array of authentic ’60s analogue gear. Of his treasured items Jacco says: “I own a couple of Hohner Pianets, the same ones The Zombies used. I also love my cheap Dutch Philips transistor Philicorda organ a lot. Another keyboard that I’m really glad to have is my Optigan organ, which is similar to the Mellotron and makes use of recorded samples on a disk that sound really spooky and lo-fi. When using very mechanical instruments, like the Hohner Pianet, it will always beat using a virtual plugin version on your computer.”