In the past Jefre Cantu-Ledesma has tended towards a mutable alternation, blending and moving between effusive machine noise, undiluted field recordings and the more abstract vestiges of shoegaze and dream pop. Yet throughout this flux there’s been a persistent sense of rhapsodic scintillation. Recent solo works like ‘A Year with 13 Moons’, ‘In Summer’ and the affiliated ‘Songs of Remembrance’ / ‘Songs of Forgiveness’ material have embodied a fervent, bittersweet expressionism inspired by themes of place, time, memory and relationships.
‘Tenderness’, the third offering from his latest record ‘On The Echoing Green’, preserves a significant share of those ideas but does so with a keener regard for stability and clarity. Where before coarse electrical outbreaks washed out the more tuneful facets of Ledesma’s sound - frequently in climactic disintegrations - here there’s a sumptuous, unbroken quality of definition. There’s still a characteristic soak to the guitars but everything feels immaculately graphic. Lifted into the light and crystallizing into pristine colour, it’s the sound of Ledesma shifting from experimental tendencies into full scale pop radiance.
Fitting then that Paul Clipson has reflected this emphatic evolution in Ledesma’s sound with a new video that distils the imagery of a lost Summer into a similarly gorgeous vision. As with his regular visual collaborations with Grouper, footage of natural phenomena, landscapes and shimmering light play overlap and coalesce into a dreamlike succession of images, all of them charged with a vivid, transient beauty. Imagine if Marie Menken was commissioned to reimagine her seminal short ‘Lights’ for The Durutti Column’s ‘A Sketch For Summer’ and you’re somewhere close. An almost flawless reverie for the eyes and the ears.
On The Echoing Green is out 16th June on Mexican Summer, and you can pre-order it here.