Jefre Cantu-Ledesma: Love is a Stream
Type Records

Jefre Cantu-Ledesma's debut solo album for Type puts some significant degree of distance between the work he's produced as a member of Tarentel and The Alps and the crushing slow-dazzle he unleashes on Love Is A Stream. The forty-five-minute outing presents a blinding guitar inferno one might liken to a combustible Tim Hecker-Fennesz-My Bloody Valentine fusion. To some degree, Cantu-Ledesma pushes the concept of Fennesz's Endless Summer to its furthest extreme by burying plaintive melodies under a seething hailstorm of guitar-generated fuzz. At the uppermost level, raw six-string distortion dominates, but behind it melodic elements faintly resound, many of them—to the degree that the determination can be made—lyrical and melancholy. Apparently Cantu-Ledesma produced the tracks using not only guitar but synthesizers too, and also drew upon the vocal contributions of Type label head John Twells, Lisa McGee, and Maxwell August Croy (admittedly, one must listen closely to hear them).

In the opening “Stained Glass Body,” submerged voices call out from the center of a grainy, convulsive mass that swells until its rippling surges threaten to turn immolating, and, believe it or not, poetry lurks beneath the shrieking surface of “Star Garden.” Though things heat up to an even more volcanic pitch in “Where I End & You Begin,” a melodic core is still audible albeit barely, and unbelievably that still holds true when its sister track “Where You End & I Begin” escalates to the level of gargantuan howl. Love Is A Stream isn't a relentless wall-of-sound, however, with “Womb Night” providing a brief respite from the thunder, and “Wild Moon and Sea” waxing wistfully about landscapes visited long ago. The album's dozen salvos of white noise won't be to everyone's taste, but listeners with an insatiable jones for the kind of molten annihilation served up by Tim Hecker and others like him will take to Love Is A Stream like ducks to water. Chances are you'll be so blown away by the sheer magnitude of the tracks' sound that you'll hardly notice the complete absence of bass and percussion. (Note that the LP version comes with a bonus fifty-minute CD of material reworked by John Twells.)

December 2010