Although Gabriel Berrios has bounced around making music under a few different names for a while now, his sound has always remained fully developed and irresistible. Carried by chiming guitar hooks and phrases, “a burden” is exactly what we’ve come to expect from Berrios’ songwriting. ”a burden” definitely downplays Berrios’ singing, which has really improved since his days as Tree Hopping, and instead focuses on stretching his muscle as an instrumentalist. Released alongside the equally awesome “surface”, “a burden” is just another awesome, lo-fi, tropicalia-tinged slice of summery bliss that Berrios is so great at making.
After putting out some truly stellar demos and tracks over the past few months, Gabriel Berrios has landed at the top of artists I’m really excited about hearing progress. It may have taken him a few projects to really establish his footing with singing and songwriting, however, Gabriel Berrios has demonstrated on tracks like “the courage” and “detail” his ability to masterfully combine influences of tropical and highlife music with his lo-fi, solo recordings. Released alongside the equally charming “Hole”, “detail” is a warm and colorful track that brings some much needed bass-fuzz to Berrios’ typically treble heavy compositions. The vocals are mostly there to act as an extra instrument giving “detail” a distinctively lush and full sounding listen accented with Berrios’ expected stabs of bright guitar licks. I’m not sure whether or not Berrios is looking to round out his songs with a full band in the future, but wherever he’s going we will be listening.
Whether he’s been making music as Tree Hopping or Bayatas, I’ve been following the music of Gabriel Berrios for a while now. I’m not sure if he’s retiring those two projects or not, however, he’s making some of his best and most promising music yet under his own name. Berrios’ compositions have always stood out for incorporating tropical and latin elements into his music and while his newer stuff tones down the eccentricity it has led to his best and most focused songwriting yet. Probably due to the “here’s the drop” april fool’s prank on soundcloud, I was expecting “the courage” to be an energetic and upbeat track similar to his material as Tree Hopping. I was pleasantly surprised to hear that “the courage” demonstrates a more intimate and personal side to Berrios. ”the courage”, along with some of the other tracks he’s put out during the past few months, work with a cohesive and matured sound that takes most songwriters years to achieve.
I’m super psyched that Bayatas has started releasing more again. Although his recordings as the ultra lo-fi and yelpy Tree Hopping are past him, Bayatas is a more fully formed and polished project with some very strong singles already under his belt. The biggest improvement from Tree Hopping to Bayatas is easily the singing. While I had no problem with his unhinged and unrestrained sing-yelling before, it’s hard to deny the much more easy on the ears approach he is now putting over his always lushly tropical guitar work. ’aa’ demonstrates all the improvements and more with some additional atmospherics thrown into the mix.
Tree Hopping has gone and moved to Miami and changed his name to Bayatas with a fresh and refined sound. Gabriel Berrios is still making loud and fast tropicalia infused-punk, however, these new tracks show the kind of growth that we hoped to hear from the artist. While before the lo-fi recording brought just as much bite (specifically in the chirping vocals) as it did warmth, the still very lo-fi recording sounds much more cared for. One these two tracks, Bayatas showcases that his trimmed and refined his unique sound into something just as exciting while managing to be more listenable than before. The tracks can be downloaded for free at his bandcamp and streamed below…