Sky Could Undress - Jefre Cantu-Ledesma - Balmorhea,
Creating sounds based in both patient ambient exploration, experimental clatter, and the textural expressiveness of shoegaze, Jefre Cantu-Ledesma developed a distinctive voice for his instrumental sounds.
Along with frequent collaborations, his solo albums encompassed a wide range of styles, from the distorted ambient haze of his 2010 debut Love Is a Wave to the slowed-down beats and tape experiments of 2015's A Year with 13 Moons.
Born and raised in Texas, Jefre Cantu-Ledesma delved into abstract music around the same time he was studying sculpture and visual arts in San Francisco in the mid-'90s. Developing an ambient approach to the spacy indie rock and slowcore of the time, Cantu-Ledesma co-founded the highly influential instrumental act Tarentel, worked with experimental rock trio the Alps, and ran the well-respected drone/ambient label Root Strata. Prolifically collaborative, Cantu-Ledesma worked with Grouper's Liz Harris in a duo called Raum, as well as with filmmaker Paul Clipson and in Alexis Georgopoulos' ARP project. For a short time he worked solo under the name Colophon, and released music under his own name. A more official solo debut came out in 2010 with the beautifully damaged shoegaze tones of Love Is a Stream, released on Type Records. Some copies of the record included the companion EP Love Is a Dream, featuring collaborations between Cantu-Ledesma and Type founder John Twells' Xela project.
Following several years' worth of limited cassette and vinyl releases, a proper follow-up came in 2015 with A Year with 13 Moons. Named after a Fassbinder film, the collection of dreamy guitar textures, modular synth noise, and distant drum-machine rhythms was put together during a residency at the Headlands Center for the Arts in the San Francisco Bay Area. The album was released early that year on Mexican Summer. In 2016, Shelter Press released Comme un Seul Narcisse, a collaborative LP by Cantu-Ledesma and Félicia Atkinson (aka Je Suis le Petit Chevalier), and Geographic North released Cantu-Ledesma's solo cassette In Summer. Also that year, the Czech label Pre-Echo issued vinyl editions of Songs of Remembrance and Songs of Forgiveness, two previously cassette-only albums from 2014. In 2017, he returned to Mexican Summer with On the Echoing Green, a clearer, more accessible album than his previous efforts. 2019 marked another step away from well-traveled territory with the more subdued, experimental, and chamber instrumentation of Tracing Back the Radiance. ~ Fred Thomas, Rovi