Concert preview: Jacco Gardner brings the sounds of the '60s to 4th & 4th Fest

Andy Downing, Columbus Alive

While many musicians opt to specialize in one instrument or another, Jacco Gardner described the idea of restraining himself to a single pursuit as "limiting."

"I never felt the need to focus on one instrument because it seemed I couldn't complete the picture in my head if I could only play one instrument. I always felt like I needed to be able to play at least a couple of instruments so I could combine them and make something nice," said the Netherlands-born Gardner, 27, who performs as part of the 4th & 4th Fest at Seventh Son Brewing on Saturday, July 11. "I [grew up hearing] songs that had guitar and vocal and organ, and I really liked those, so I was like, 'Well, this means I at least need to be able to sing and play organ and guitar to make songs.' And I went on from there."

The musician's sophomore album Hypnophobia, in turn, blossoms like a dense, paisley-colored garden, layering together plucked harpsichord, percolating Mellotron, fragile glockenspiel and hazy, psychedelic guitars so trip-inducing they could infect some listeners with a severe case of the munchies.

Though the atmosphere undoubtedly calls to mind the 1960s - Gardner gravitates toward the era organically, describing it as "the first time pop music was in the hands of young people … where they had the complete freedom to do whatever they liked" - the music never comes off like some fussy period piece. Rather, Gardner incorporates modern technologies alongside time-tested analog techniques, utilizing every tool in his still-expanding arsenal to try and capture the complex sounds echoing in his head.

"Some people think I'm really oblivious to modern technology," Gardner said, and laughed. "But my dad is a concept developer and inventor, so I'm always really interested in new technology. It's funny to me when people think I'm actually the opposite."

Like his inventor father, Gardner is driven by both an unshakeable restlessness and a desire to expand his current field of knowledge, and he credits much of his musical growth to the increased worldview he developed while touring in support of his 2013 debut Cabinet of Curiosities.

"I think I brought a lot of the experiences I had touring the first album with me when I made the new album - not just the landscapes I see, but also the music I hear around me and the people that I meet. My whole world expanded," Gardner said. "I think the second album is a little more personal and a little darker lyrics-wise, and I'm also focusing more on my own fears and weaknesses and where I fit in. Now that I'm discovering more of the world in the last couple years, that's something that might be an effect of that."

Additionally, Gardner entered into initial sessions with an acute awareness he'd be playing these songs for an audience - an element that didn't factor into the making of Cabinet of Curiosities, which was written and recorded over a span of eight years and eventually completed as part of a graduation project for the musician's degree in compositional production.

"I wanted to be able to play these songs live at festivals or in a club, so I had those things in my head when I was working on the album as well, which kind of changed the music," said Gardner, who grew up alongside two brothers and a sister in Zwaag, an idyllic, meadow-ringed village situated 40 minutes north of Amsterdam. "Touring is a chance to explore these unknown worlds. In [the United States] there are a lot of landscapes I've never seen before. Sometimes it changes from desert to really big boulders, and then all of a sudden there's a river or a waterfall or a swamp. It goes all over the place and it makes me feel like I'm on a different planet. If you can see a world you've never seen before you can get into that state of mind where everything is special and everything is unique and everything is amazing."

Seventh Son Brewing Co.

12 p.m. Saturday, July 11

1101 N. Fourth St., Italian Village

4thand4th.com