The Return of...

  • Released: 13/08/2021
  • Label: ATO
  • Genre: DubLatin

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The Return of Pachyman is a supernatural force from a brave new world that’s a little bit San Juan, a little L.A., and a whole lot of Channel One in Kingston, Jamaica. Designed to be a resurrection of sound systems from the past through which we can celebrate a post-Trump future, the record shows that blasting off into reggae’s deep space has never gone out of style. It’s a high-flying journey into a different kind of dub vibe, as García tells it, by composing songs “in major keys, which is not as common with reggae nowadays.”

You can hear this right away on the first track, “Big Energy,” which García describes as coming from “Roots Radics, the band that inspired me to start the Pachyman project. The sound I was going for was the way they made those reverbs flow like in space.” All the hallmarks are here—the skittering guitar skanks melting into echoing astral messages, the bass pumping a subversive melody, a distant keyboard flourish. Ground control has never seemed so far away.

Like breaking news streamed from a rogue satellite, “Destroy the Empire” is a mad echo-chamber of primitive video-game revenge on a certain ex-president. “It came from King Tubby, Prince Jammy Destroys the Space Invaders or Scientist Meets the Space Invaders and destroys them,” said García. Pachyman’s planet is a world between worlds, where exiled multi-instrument basement studio composers stand and deliver. 

"I’m a Puerto Rican living in an empire that has done horrible things to its citizens,” said García, who spent a big chunk of the Trump era working on this album. “Being on an island that revolves around music that’s danceable and for people to feel good stems from the fact that slaves were brought here 400 years ago from Africa and they introduced percussion and dances; it’s a cultural thing. But I also wanted Pachyman to be overtly political. I’m in LA as an immigrant, even though I’m a citizen, which is a weird situation.”

With “El Benson,” featuring Benson Pagán, and “Sunset Sound,” García is trying to capture melodic strands of lover’s rock, with its roots in jazz, r&b, and post-disco, in a way that points to future Pachyman projects. “I’ve always had a huge interest in capturing the whole lover’s rock vibe because the chord structure is completely different from early roots reggae,” said García. Speckled with jazzy chords and brightly layered synth and organ riffs, “El Benson” is the ultimate early-summer anthem, a tone-poem for when the sun finally breaks through the clouds.

“Sunset Sound” features more of the same airy take on speculative emotion, following a straight line from electric organ to Moog-ish mashup, harking back to the Vapor Wave fad of the early 2010s. “I bought a synthesizer and I started doing a bunch of chords, trying to do songs that were really lo-fi and had chord structures that again come from 80s easy listening jazz,” said García. “They had really dope chord structures despite the fact that they’re so easy listening! There’s not enough of the sexy/jazzy shit that happened in the 70s and I was like I want to try to tap into that and create my own.”

With The Return of Pachyman, García wants to show how the Caribbean flow is transnational, a vibe that resounds from Jamaica to San Juan to Southern California. "With this project, I was looking to make positive music and radiate good energy; something to kinda disconnect from the negative things that were happening at the moment," Garcia explains. "I am trying to make this project a service for humanity in the sense that I just wanted to shine a positive light.”


1. Big Energy
2. Champion Sound
3. Destroy The Empire
4. Sunset Sound
5. Strictly Vibes
6. Ruben Durazo
7. Midcity Rockers
8. Roots Train
9. Foundation Sound
10. Space Station
11. Dub Fellowship
12. El Benson