A 'Renaissance Boy' Indeed | Galimatias Shines with Transcendent Solo Album

 Evan Dale // Aug 30, 2020 

A Renaissance Boy, indeed.


When in 2015, Galimatias exploded onto an at the time little known sort of electro-R&B scene hand-in-hand with the jazzy vocals of soulstress, Alina Baraz, Urban Flora captured a merged lane that no one had yet explored so fluidly. And for good reason – for reasons wrapped in raw invention and eternal tranquil nuance – the album would go on to garner more than half a billion streams, and even more than that, a whole lot of aesthetic influence on a budding spectrum still struggling to effectively blend so many stylings yet to be fused and defined.


During it all, Galimatias vanished. The Danish transcendentalist with his feet touching down in LA, went into limelight hiatus to focus on himself – on his own art and music. Not that being collaboratively in tune to the scale that he was with Urban Flora would have been anything but positive for his career as a world building producer, but Galimatias wanted more. He wanted a reinvention of self. Self-reliance, self-collaboration. And through the last five years, he seems to have achieved exactly that and more.


‘If I can ask one favor it’s for you to listen through this album in one sitting. I spent a long ass time making this a cohesive piece. The experience is so much better when you hear it like that. Front to back. Headphone jack in. World out.’


When the silence behind his hiatus finally ended and a Renaissance Boy was born, this is all he asked for – asks for – in return. And it’s nothing if not a fair trade and a reminder of the importance of the creative process. The album – like so many others – reads fluidly masterful in defined order. No need to pick and choose hits when the whole half-hour is a daunting, immersive composition. And as Galimatias says, when taken as a whole dose, Renaissance Boy shines, and shines its creator in a new light.


The light of Renaissance Boy is one defined by a wholly self-sufficient artist. Production, instrumentation, composition, vocals, lyrics, and ultimate mastering come completely by way of Galimatias himself, with the album’s only exception emerging in the form of GPS where Dreamville’s Bas and the unparalleled tone of Xavier Omar bring a little something new into focus. But even with GPS, Galimatias is the underline. His firm foundation holds true.


What feels most exciting – least expected – about Galimatias’ Renaissance Boy is not only his courage, but his success in exploring his own vocalism. In a modern scene where more is asked of every artist; where rappers sing, singers produce, and producers somehow find a way to do it all, Galimatias is perhaps the perfect picture. Nothing about Renaissance Boy would lead a new listener to believe that the crystal cool blue tones of the vocalist are of the same breath that draw the album’s chords in effervescent rotundas. But, that emerged knack for top-to-bottom composition drives the direction of Renaissance Boy more than any of its other traits. With Renaissance Boy, Galimatias isn’t some producer that sings or some singer that has a hand in the production of an album. He is, instead, a fluid transcendentalist exploring the many notches of his artistry’s wide-reaching belt.


Renaissance Boy feels like a personal project, if ever there were one. Not only is the sudden reemergence of Galimatias as a multi-threat artist an exploration of vulnerability in itself, but the very aesthetic of the project at large is one of grandiose emotional openness. From the top, it seems that his long-established affinity for R&B and soul music has granted him a lens through which to divulge his emotionality, while his love of hip-hop grounds his bass and drives braggadocio into the project.


The scope of that range shines in the project’s opening full track, Redeye. After a subtle, emotional exploration at Renaissance Boy’s soulful Intro, Redeye exists as one of the album’s most well-rounded exhibitions. Overtop a bubbly, layered beat that holds equal value in its harp strokes as it does in its hard-hitting percussion line, Galimatias likewise explores a balance in his prose and poeticism.


Came back, redeye to see you
I heard you've got someone new
I'm taking you from that guy
Came back to tell you, you're mine
Might see my face on the news
If we'll be fighting for you
I'm taking you from that guy
Came back to tell you, you're mine


As his confident, hip-hop rooted stanzas set the stage for a rebirth of sorts for an artist previously denoted by romance and bliss, Galimatias quickly reminds those listening that the R&B-centric love affair with his sensitivities and those for whom he writes is still his strongest directional force:


You're my favorite view
I can do anything for you
Make you smile when you're feeling blue
Take a hit if you need me to


And from the bubbly boundlessness of Redeye, the pieces are set to listen front to back, headphone jack in, world out, and make an opinion of your own. Chances are, you’ll love the changes that be.


A Renaissance Boy, indeed.