Jefre Cantu-Ledesma | Tracing Back The Radiance
Mexican Summer (LP/DL)
For over a decade Brooklyn musician and ceramicist Jefre Cantu-Ledesma has brought us all sorts of aural goodies, collaborations and experimental ventures. Tracing Back The Radiance (his third full-length on NY’s Mexican Summer imprint) is his latest trio of pieces that instead of falling between the cracks seem to exemplify where those cracks have expanded. And assisting in doing so the artist has employed a vast array of musicians:
Jefre Cantu-Ledesma – Effects processing, Vibraphone
John Also Bennett – Flute
Marilu Donavan – Harp
Chuck Johnson – Pedal steel guitar
Gregg Kowalsky – Synthesizer
Mary Lattimore – Harp
David Moore – Piano
Meara O’Reilly – Voice
Jonathan Sielaff – Bass Clarinet
Roger Tellier Craig – Synthesizer, Effects processing
Christopher Tignor – Violin
An impressive arrangement by a talented pool of artists, some whose sounds I’ve enjoyed in their own right. Here, they band together on Palace of Time in a relaxed feeling subtle set of orchestration. The overall mood is that of saturated shades of light melodies that trickle into the frame, with restrained percussion – almost all seemingly underwater with refined mastering thanks to Stephan Mathieu.
The languid tones with gorgeous delays are loosely wrapped, but they engage the ear like a campfire. The way Cantu-Ledesma has brought all this together defies the individual player by celebrating the collective as a whole here, it’s a true amalgamation of many lovely chords and softened cadences into one amorphous work. It’s lethargic but never an overdose into oblivion. Joy acts as the short separator for the two lengthier pieces here. The wind instrument emanates well with the synthy illusions and general meditative vibe. This is a delicate piece.
Finally, the title cut comes in as if you are ending at a new dawn. Quite painterly, your ears may experience a tickle, like a light breeze wafting through (to heighten the sensation try listening to this with a small fan on low pointed in your general direction). It moves forward, guided by a trail of drone, like a cast shadow. This is nu-ambient that is informed by generations of sleep concerts and the like. There is this sense of encapsulated shyness, similar to the light rose warmth that rises and builds mildly when someone complements you unexpectedly. The best word to describe this album is ‘illuminated’.