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Love Is a Stream

Jefre Cantu-Ledesma

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Album Review

Jefre Cantu-Ledesma's various group and collaborative projects from Tarentel onward would seem to leave little time for a solo career, but it might not be surprising he's found space for one. On 2010's Love Is a Stream, the overexposed, pink-tinged cover is a perfect signal for the music that follows: it's bliss-out central from the first note, with "Stained Glass Body" sounding almost exactly like a combination of My Bloody Valentine at its most serenely exultant, and a slightly calmer version of Lovesliescrushing's sonic violence. If anything, it could almost be a collage of the shorter instrumental pieces from both albums, only with some of them turned into even longer compositions along the way. This tone continues in a general vein throughout Love Is a Stream, which is almost a tribute to a future that at once came true and didn't at the same time, as some of the more unexpected possibilities and directions got formalized over time, as they steered away from song structures in favor of textures. Occasional guest vocals crop up here and there from compatriots like Xela and En's Maxwell Croy, but Love Is a Stream is an instrumental exploration otherwise. Having a piece be simply roaring feedback and serene tones on songs like "Loving Love" (could any title be more tautological?) and "River Like Spine" reinforces the album's title. When the occasional guest vocals do stand out a bit more, they're still almost completely lost in the wash: "Where You End & I Begin" has only the most distant of moments where you can sense the singing, while a slow series of feedback loops and swirls dominate the mix. "Body Within Body" and "White Dwarf Butterfly," the latter with its treble-pitched ultrashimmer in particular, are further standouts on an excellent album that's a half look back and a half new way of looking at where things could go next.

Biography

Born: San Francisco , CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Born and raised in Texas, Jefre Cantu-Ledesma delved into abstract music around the same time he was studying sculpture and visual arts in San Francisco in the mid-'90s. Developing an ambient approach to the spacy indie rock and slowcore of the time, Cantu-Ledesma co-founded the highly influential instrumental act Tarentel as well as working with experimental rock trio the Alps and running the well-respected drone/ambient label Root Strata. Prolific in collaboration, Cantu-Ledesma created work with...
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