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 shared the first single from this magnificent breakthrough LP a couple months back, but my anticipation never waned. Luckily, it seems well placed: Union and Return soars like the disembodied wings on its fantastical cover art, all weird texture and glistening uplift.
This week I finally got on the literal saddle and biked every single day. It’s done wonders for my outlook. The days bloomed with a bright sense of openness, movement, and growth.
I find that optimism leads me to seek out new things with more enthusiasm. I ended up listening to a whole cavalcade of albums both brand new and new-to-me. I couldn’t fit them all so I’ll discuss the three that had the biggest impact on me.
One of the biggest pleasures in music is the feeling of hearing an artist sprout new wings, soar over new territory, doing something completely unexpected. We love to chart trajectories and project the future onto the nearest wall. We love to dissect an artist, especially an up-and-coming one, to see what makes them tick. But despite all indications that they’re going to swerve right, they sometimes veer left. Some are left grasping for nothing; I’m excited to chase through unknown places.