Jefre Cantu-Ledesma – In Summer (Geographic North, 2016)


Every Summer represents a short burst of memorable moments, of pent up anticipation and the need to unwind boiled away under a hot Sun somewhere away from home. In the brief time allotted to In Summer, Cantu-Ledesma distills the essence of our seasonal exploits in fleeting snapshots of characteristically luxurious Noise and Drone passages that immerse you in the richness of their unique place and time in our memory.

It blows open with the singularly iconic “Love’s Refrain”, a ludicrously bucolic and hypnagogic piece that turns freely, if slowly, on beds of sunbleached guitar chords frothed into a haze of pink noise alongside languid drum slaps and deep reverberating drone depths. Slowly it transmutes through sunny, sandy, blissful oblivion, stalling briefly to change its notations before it tumbles into a melting pot of amorphous, shimmering static walls. A sheet of noise descends, increasingly blanketing the senses in a curtain of pure reverie that reaches a fever pitch of ecstasy before caving away abruptly into the next instance. What a trip, what pure, unbridled catharsis!

“Little Dear Isle” and the title track are rather less consumptive followers; the former feels burnt out after the opener, birdsong and careful footsteps through vegetation weave their way through the blistered air still humming in the wake of the noise of its predecessor. It’s quaint and light, sensitive in its idyllic pastures of sound. The latter is even more reductive, slinking in surreptitiously on beds of ethereal vocals and slow motion guitar drones, the percussion slow and distant as it gently propels the hazy, woozy piece onwards. It’s a dream of Summer, a mirage of yearning that collapses in its second half into nothing more than choppy fragments of static blowing in the wind, the vacuum allowing the entry of a creeping nostalgia.

“Blue Nudes (I-IV)” creates a balancing act between itself and “Love’s Refrain” with its similar runtime and comparably sybaritic Hypnagogic Pop allusions, but its more unassuming this time around, its bass and guitar pressing gently on the senses in repetitive passages that watch the precious seasonal hours slip by. The drifting noise and slappy drums barely tick over as the world turns about us, the heady reverb just drinking it all in, savouring it, bottling it up for the long dark inbetween times, “Prelude” starkly reminding us of its imminent arrival.

The closing minutes are a disorientating finalé filled with twisting sounds, stereoscopic bursts of brief spoken word and the menacing heaviness of a panting dog circle the listener, hemming us in fretfully and fearfully. The good times are over, and forcefully ended, their dark kaleidoscopic terrors replaced with the fuzzy loneliness of a piano to close us out, our final image one of anticipated disappointment and melancholia.

Summer’s fading fast now, though there’s still a little time left to make a few more snapshots of our own this year. Perhaps In Summer is a little premature in that regard: we’re all still formulating our distinct impressions of 2016, but it’ll soon be a fiercely potent force in Autumn’s waning days as we get to look back on the year that was. Still a fine record to enjoy concurrent with Summer’s strong rays and good times.