I seem to remember 2009 having a plethora of great ambient releases and much noise being made of what was being released ready to be streamed into our headphones giving us a place to escape to. Maybe i'm not hanging around the right circles, but certainly the forums I frequent have been less vocal about the genre this time round. One release however that has caused a stir would be that of Jefre Cantu-Ledesma, a man who goes by many names, whether that be as part of Tarentel, Colophon or even a further play on his actual name, Jefre Sei Getsu Ledesma which he used on last years Namu Kie Butsu, an album i wish I hadn't neglected so much now.
His latest offering is on the reliable Type label and entitled Love Is A Stream, here we have a collection of pieces that crackle like radio static, a conversation at sea, a shipwreck of a sound, the sound of a soul holding on to life as the waves take them under, fighting for each breath, images of the past flashing through the mind, regrets and the wish that you'd done things differently.
The sound flows and gushes through your ears at times reminiscent of one of my all time favourite ambient pieces, that of Zerthis Was a Shivering Human Image by the much loved Eluvium. This is one to let yourself get wrapped up in this autumn, a thing beauty and great depth.
Stained Glass Body by Jefre Cantu-Ledesma
Where I End & You Begin by Jefre Cantu-Ledesma
Where You End & I Begin by Jefre Cantu-Ledesma
Spoiler : What Boomkat Said:
Best known as a founding member of Tarentel and The Alps, Jefre Cantu-Ledesma returns with a brand new album for Type having previously released solo material through Spekk, Arbor and his own label, Root Strata. "Love Is A Stream" marks a radical rethink of the classic dream-pop template, taking an impressionist's brush to the established genre traits. Full of noise and expertly sculpted feedback, tracks such as 'Loving Love' feel like an all-analogue take on Fennesz's noisier moments, complete with hazy exchanges between skyscraping major 7th chords; you might equally suggest that Love Is A Stream goes some way towards joining the dots between My Bloody Valentine and more recent drone-pop scene leaders such as Tim Hecker and Grouper. Although the dominant component parts of this sound seem to spring from the fiery embers of molten synthesizers and tape saturated guitar tones, the album derives some of its luxurious textural presence from vocals supplied by the likes of Type boss John 'Xela' Twells, Lisa McGee and Maxwell August Croy. You can just about make out lost voices roaming around the pulverised mix of 'Stained Glass Body' and the billowing 'River Like Spine' (though it's fairly hard to make any single element out, given how melted and fluid the mixing is), bringing a frail human element to an album that otherwise sounds entirely not of this Earth. The bonus CD that comes with this vinyl edition features a 50 minute assembly of reworked outtakes handled by Type label head John Twells, better known as Xela. He feeds Cantu-Ledesma's sound sources into his analogue pressure cooker, imbuing the material with a warm fuzz and hum that only serves to accentuate the layered shoegaze ambience lurking in the belly of this beautiful music.