“Love Is A Stream” by Jefre Cantu-Ledesma
Shoegazing ambience for the noise generation.
As a member of San Francisco legends Tarentel and Type’s premier astral travellers The Alps, Jefre Cantu-Ledesma is hardly a new addition to the label, so it’s hard to believe that ‘Love Is A Stream’ is his first Type solo album. Previously releasing on Arbor, Spekk and his own Root Strata imprint, this latest album marks his journey into the beautifully cacophonous world of dream pop.
Shoegaze music has been much maligned in recent years, probably due to its rebirth and subsequent explosion of popularity (which gave rise to hundreds of young bands aping the over twenty-year-old sound). However it was only a fragment of the genre that these bands attempted to re-create, and on ‘Love Is A Stream’ Cantu, instead of focusing on tired weeping melancholy ballads, focuses solely on expansive, almost noise-ridden hopefulness. This is the kind of noise we fell in love with when My Bloody Valentine blew our ear drums performing ‘Loveless’, or the kind of harmonic excess we heard on hundredth listen to Catherine Wheel’s ‘Ferment’, but taken into deeper, more abstract realms.
‘Love Is A Stream’ is dedicated to love itself, and the dreamy, shimmering blown-out textures might at first sound like white noise before they ultimately give way to blissful harmony and hidden melody. Underneath the grit and growl are hidden guitar parts, synthesizer drones and even vocals (provided by Lisa McGee, John Twells and Maxwell August Croy) that succeed in swelling the dense, tape-saturated songs to heady new heights and belie any influences they might have. On each listen the mind strips away another layer of dust and bones to reveal haunting and deeply moving beauty.
The world might be spiralling into despair, but Jefre Cantu-Ledesma has brought us a record that isn’t afraid to share the love. All that’s left to do is drown in it.