Agüita, Garzón-Montano’s first release for Jagjaguwar, follows 2017’s Jardin, his acclaimed debut full-length melding classical and folkloric instruments with R&B, hip-hop, and cumbia, and 2014’s Bishouné: Alma Del Huila, the critically-lauded, self-produced EP that put Garzón-Montano on the map, its tracks serving as sample fodder for a handful of popular music’s most iconic artists.
Agüita is a sequence of impossibly diverse offerings ranging from trap anthems to string-drenched art pop ballads – a prismatic self-portrait, personal and universal all at once. Garzón-Montano’s ability to execute a wide range of musical styles is his secret weapon – and so it is no wonder he bristles at the prospect of settling into any one genre. “Genre has never been a consideration,” he says. “The idea of genre uses fear of failure as a baseline. Genre puts the music in a box. This album is anti-genre. Anti-fear. Anti-box.” What remains is an ultra-personal journey through the three separate characters that constitute Garzón-Montano’s personality: the debonair leading man, the wistful impressionist, and the Latino Urbano hitmaker.
In this life, a first-generation American, born in Brooklyn to French and Colombian parents, can marry 808s with 19th-century art song, and catch a million plays in a weekend. In this life, old school analogue tape and autotuned, varispeeded androgyny live together in perfect harmony, and the algorithm meant to guide us to our next playlist is of no use. In this life, big brujo energy means blunts and 3 inch heels; it means Apollonia’s hands around you from the back of that motorcycle; it means nueva cancion, and reggaeton; it means the rabid, joyful individualism of funk – of oneness – of the one.
The magic of Agüita lives in Gabriel’s ability to consolidate a range of truths into a focused, crystallized idea. On the title track, Garzón-Montano delves into club-banger territory, performing in Spanish for the first time on record.