Jefre Cantu-Ledesma – Tracing Back The Radiance (Mexican Summer, 2019)

I can see them now, the hovering eyes permeating the fabric of my mind, gazing out at me, into me, through some crystalline moment. A smile touches their edges, imbibing them with a character that only genuineness reveals, that sparkle and lustre that illuminates them. A shadow passes in a moment of consternation and seriousness. A revealing side glance. All blue within blue.

Revelation is usually pretty close at hand. Intention only gestures away. Desire an amalgamation of often not-subtle extrusions of personality. Actions are threaded tracks from the source, a projection from the conscience outwards into the space between bodies, between minds; one simply needs to trace them back across the gulf.

Tracing Back The Radiance¬†is a soft saturation of the senses, a delicate imprinting that hovers on the edge between subconscious thought and conscious ignorance that gently becomes aware of itself and its interactions. “Joy”, the short interior piece, beautifully elucidates it for us, slowly curving from these melancholic tinged flute arcs that carefully reveal a softened and charming new form. Harp pickings and bubbling electronica supplement the course of its awakening, shifting the trajectory of the piece from one of eerie placidity to polite happiness: a short revelatory ascent. One becomes aware of the attention, of the soft brushes and awkward blushes, of knowing and intimate glances.

It’s the title track that really captures me though, with its cerebral hum and glowing drone sparsity gracefully working its way backwards as though attempting to deconvolute its acoustic origins. Suggestions of form trickle out: a harp chord here, a slide guitar there, checkpoints on the tentative path towards merger and understanding. It’s so close, and at the end angelic vocals melt through the veil like a siren’s call, guiding us towards the nexus of feeling as physical and mental distance collapses.

Trace back the radiance, it’s a scary thought. The opener “Palace of Time” lingers endlessly in place for that very purpose, treading water in the labyrinthine confines of emotional uncertainties and mental unsteadiness. Without confrontation, one could stay here in acceptable limbo forever, never acting, never progressing, never expressing. Its piano and drone minimalism moves freely and effortlessly, but there’s a sense of alienation and separation present as though the traces of percussion and other arrhythmic constituents of this shadow-world feel desynchronised. The feeling is there, but the actions are not.

We need more actions, we need more awareness. Trace back those radiances: you know who I’m talking about.