Jefre-Cantu Ledesma – On The Echoing Green (Mexican Summer, 2017)

On The Echoing Green

To listen to Cantu-Ledesma records of yesteryear, you would perhaps be surprised to hear the direction he has moved into recently; known early for thick, dense and noisy productions (with such titles as Shining Skull Breath and Speaking Corpse), he has relatively quickly evolved into Shoegaze and Hypnagogic Pop as of late. The result? Records that carve almost insufferably consumptive sequences out of both lightly blistered guitar lines and woozy synthesisers, throwing the listener into deliciously battering hazes of unfiltered seasonal emotion.

10 minute album centerpiece “A Song of Summer” is unquestionably the pinnacle of this heady merger, a knife edge of bleary Shoegaze beats and scarcely contained Drone/Noise ferocity that streams with a raw undercurrent of strong feeling. Burnt guitar chords smear out alongside indistinct vocal croonings, the piece pushing onwards in a ceaseless crescendo, detuning itself into a glimmering mass of untouchable bliss at the height of Summer before it abruptly bottoms out into a second phase of scorched reverie, a gorgeously reductive afterbirth.

Nothing quite ever touches the peak after that: with much of the album still to come, we find ourselves largely in its afterglow for the remaining half-hour or so. The neat couplet of “The Faun” and “Tenderness” do go a long way to advance the record though; the former unwinding on placidly revolving guitar lines, its backfield lost in a shimmering, fractal froth of noisy energy. Its still, sensitive exterior brims with a liveliness and playfulness just below the surface, these sweet creatures living a life of revelry amongst the trees in the forest’s Summer throes, their private little world within which to frolic privately.

The latter meanwhile returns to some of the previous guitar idiosyncrasies and hushed female vocals, losing itself in sweetness as it trickles forwards on multiplicitous chords and saccharine synth pulsations, loving strokes of nostalgic energy like fingers brushing cheekbones as it dies away all gauzy and replete. It draws somewhat on the sound of Torn Hawk at points, another member of the Mexican Summer roster unsurprisingly, especially later on in penultimate “Dancers at the Spring” where we experience the guitar at its lightest and most crystalline point, advancing softly in airy, twilight coolness at the end of this emotionally stirring yet draining journey. A veil is being drawn over proceedings and a tiredness sets in, though content.

He just can’t help himself though and finalé “Door To Night” finds us spun in a tumbling blitz of dizzying birdsong fragments and other unplaceable worldly noises, a disjointed and crinkling mess of sound tinged with a faintly fearful air as it steps out into the still darkness, the past turning into a flickering slideshow of moments and events to be committed to memory rather than lived as it disappears on a bed of resigned, fading drone light.

Still, that glowing remnant of recollection is better than a wistful daydream of fictional imagining: at least we had the good fortune to experience another gorgeous Summer’s worth of moments to look back on fondly, a wonderfully happy whirlwind of places and experiences to remember.

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