Jefre Cantu-Ledesma is one of the most creative guitarists alive, perhaps the preeminent abstract painter when it comes to using the instrument as a brush.
His music transcends basic understanding of what guitar music can be, transporting listeners to realms buffeted by noise and gauzy atmospherics, spaces where traditional notions of the instrument are blasted away like a sandstorm. His latest album, On The Echoing Green, aims that sense of free-form exploration in a refreshingly melodic direction. It’s a change that results in his best work yet.
I haven’t posted a weekly update in a while, so it’s about time. A lot happened, but I’ll stick to the highlights.
I hung out in wine country, biked about 500 miles, and finally saw my Japanese metal superheroes Boris in concert. Then I found myself on an extended deep dive into all the 60s jazz that I skipped over in the past. This total immersion is resulting in another evolution of taste.
The Durutti Column, aka Vini Reilly, is my favorite guitarist of all time. His vast discography stretches over countless incredible rhythms, solos, and experimental moments of unbridled joy. To hear him play is to witness a musician in total communion with his instrument, his true voice.
This is the song that turned me on to Torn Hawk. Born to Win (Life After Ghostbusters) is 15 minutes of blurry cyberpunk guitar bliss.
It was one of those out-of-the-blue eureka moments, shared by a random friend on last.fm. Remember how great a social network that was before they killed groups last year? I still miss it.
Suddenly Flying Saucer Attack appears again, nearly 15 years after last contact, with a set of unnamed instrumentals. It’s gorgeous, droning guitar music that makes no apologies for its obliqueness and doesn’t try to reach out to the uninitiated.
This slab of ashen dream is ready and waiting for anyone interested.
CFCF is one of my favorite musicians alive. His albums evoke an understated brilliance and his mixtapes are literally perfect. The Montreal-based artist, real name Mike Silver, is a direct inspiration for my own mixtapes, and has weirdly and specifically similar tastes to mine. Every time he releases something new, I devour it and savor the sounds on repeat.
This weekend, a new single was released.
I discovered yesterday via his Facebook page that a new album is coming July 31 and would run a limited set of 200 clear vinyl LPs and 300 standard black discs. Being one of the few artists I implicitly trust, I pre-ordered immediately. Today, that trust is vindicated with The Ruined Map.
Combing my list of unfinished drafts, I sometimes unearth little gems. This one began as a nod to a certain New Orleans ambient noise band, but quickly veered into a miniature Grand Statement about what I get out of music.
This self portrait is a handy visual metaphor for the words you’re about to read.
I was discussing Belong‘s debut album, October Language. I was living in San Francisco and had picked up the album on CD at Aquarius Records. The following is what I wrote almost exactly 4 years ago. I’m sharing because it still applies to my life.