The second "official" album from San Francisco's Jefre Cantu-Ledesma is here and it's really not to be missed! For the first time, Cantu-Ledesma makes a foray into the world of blissed-out shoegaze, leaving the haunting, glacial drone of his earlier work aside almost entirely. "Love is a Stream" is another home run release on Type Records and another one wholly unexpected considering the artist involved. It could almost in some ways be seen as pop music in an even more washed out version than the latest Altar Eagle album "Mechanical Gardens" (check out a few posts below for thoughts on that). This is gorgeous, elating music, a torrent of immense, blissful noise, textures blown out with dreamy haze, shimmering walls of sound with buried harmonies humming beneath. It's often summery and hopeful but also incredibly loud, in some ways akin to both My Bloody Valentine and Tim Hecker's "Harmony in Ultraviolet" (fans of both will be very happy with what they hear in any case) but more abstracted, a stunning sort of synthesis of the two which manages to make these references while maintaining a distinctly original sound. There's still a hell of a lot of grit and mountains of harsh white noise static, and droning guitars and synthesizers and washed out, buried vocals all of which come together to make this something all its own. Somehow Cantu-Ledesma managed to do all this and still fill the album with what can almost be described as pop hooks albeit ones nearly lost altogether in the noise. There's melodies here for sure even if it does take a whole lot of digging beneath the gauze of glowing sound to find them. Hugely listenable yet layered and complex, this is a unique, amazing piece and one of my favorite albums of this year packed with great stuff. Note that the vinyl copy comes with a 46 minute bonus disc. Called "Love is a Dream," it is billed as a collaboration between Xela and Jefre Cantu-Ledesma. I believe it is songs by the latter reworked by the former and not a literal collaboration between the two but it's terrific in any case.
Wild Moon And Sea by Jefre Cantu-Ledesma
Where You End & I Begin by Jefre Cantu-Ledesma
Where I End & You Begin by Jefre Cantu-Ledesma
Stained Glass Body by Jefre Cantu-Ledesma
Download (includes bonus disc)