064 - Jefre Cantu-Ledesma
I've been a fan of our latest guest, California based multi-instrumentalist Jefre Cantu-Ledesma ever since my introduction to his work back in 2014. That first experience was with the glorious two track solo release Songs of Forgiveness, a magnificent and meditative record I continue to go back to over and over again - but I've since enjoyed exploring almost everything in his extensive and storied discography. Having started out in experimental rock band Tarentel in the early 90's, before going on to start Root Strata, his own label in 2007 - he has since gone on to forge a solo career of serious weight, as well as appearing on many wonderful collaborative releases over the past decade. It is his recent run of solo records that has upped the stakes dramatically and his career has, in my opinion, shifted gears. The wonderful experimental hazy pop of 'On The Echoing Green' to the wall of sound shoegaze of 'In Summer' are excellent - and his latest full length for Mexican Summer, his third for the label, might be his best and most powerful work yet.
Where dense walls of sound have often been his way, Tracing Back The Radiance, which dropped in July, strips it's component parts down to the essential. Those component parts were acquired from a super-group-dream-team of collaborators including (recent Métron guest) Chuck Johnson on Pedal steel guitar, Gregg Kowalsky on synths, Mary Lattimore on Harp and Christopher Tignor on violin, among many others. The record was meticulously crafted together over the course of a couple of years to find the perfect arrangement for the rich source recordings. The results are spectacularly beautiful and one of he finest 'ambient' releases this year.
And it's really within this more considered and calming approach that his Métron mix exists - this time allowing lengthy stretches of gorgeous ambient sound to drift into one another. Organic sounds, bird song, flowing water, frogs and crickets break through the deep clouds of drone and gongs, eerie strings and ASMR like spoken w spring from the quiet spaces that fill the hour long mix. There's a dreamlike, mysterious and often wistful energy throughout, one that evokes strange feelings of loss, isolation and also beauty - a sonic portrayal not dissimilar to an Apichatpong Weerasethakul film. It should come as no surprise that in the midst of a prolific 30 year musical career, and coming off the back of an excellent new record, Cantu-Ledesma showcases what a wonderful ear for sound he has acquired.
Artwork by Jack Hardwicke.
Simone Forti- Molimo
Rip Hayman - Dreams of India & China (Part 1 edit)
Mary Jane Leach - Dowlands Tears
Louise Landes Levi - Butterfly Graveyard
Sarah Davachi - Perfumes III
Moniek Darge - Frogs, Balinese Rice Fields
Matthew Sullivan - Dying Woman On The Plane
Tashi Wada with Yoshi Wada and Friends - Litany