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Jefre Cantu-Ledesma: Conversations With Myself

img  Tobias Fischer

Two years after the formidable Love is a Stream, Jefre Cantu-Ledesma returns with a new album. And both in terms of presentation and content, it appears to have been conceptualised as something of an in-between-affair rather than another main pillar of his discography - interestingly, even the title to this record seems to have been borrowed from Aidan Baker, an artist operating within the same genre and working largely with the same set-up. The modesty of its creator should, however, not be confused with a lack of ambition or an assessment of Conversations with Myself's quality: Even the casualness of the album cover, provisionally held together by sellotape at both sides, isn't merely intended to save on manufacturing costs, but develops a particular kind of charm.

These five self-conversations, most likely recorded with nothing but guitars and effect pedals, sail clear off the insurmountable distortion-cliffs of Love is a Stream and from Cantu-Ledesma's debut Shining Skull Breath. On top of airy drones – placed far away in the background - undulating arpeggios are either performed with fascinating sluggishness (#1), increasing density and layering techniques (#2, #3) or in a more relaxed vein, with conversation #5 adding a complementary melodic arch, which discretely and intuitively brings things full-circle. All pieces are starting abruptly, throwing the listener straight into the action, only to end with equal suddenness, as though one were listening to excerpts from much longer loop studies. And yet, these rather harsh breaks never harm the overall ambiance.

Which brings us to the keyword here: Mood. Since its discretely glistening main motives are comfortably sitting on top of the dark textures, Conversations with Myself sounds remarkably transparent – a quality which Cantu-Ledesma has translated into a mesmerising seamlessness.It is highly likely that these tracks were recorded within a short period of time with the same instrumentation and with little changes in between settings. The result is extremely engaging. Far too engaging, in fact, to serve as a mere conversation with himself.

By Hellmut Neidhardt

Homepage: Jefre Cantu-Ledesma

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