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Root Strata boss Jefre Cantu-Ledesma returns to Mexican Summer with a gorgeous, dusk-lit new LP. Where his previous release on the label (2017’s On The Echoing Green) was a series of relatively short and shoegazey downtempo instrumentals, Tracing Back The Radiance sprawls out at greater length. This time featuring instrumentation from John Also Bennett, Marilu Donavan, Chuck Johnson, Gregg Kowalsky, Mary Lattimore, David Moore, Meara O'Reilly, Jonathan Sielaff, Roger Tellier Craig, and Christopher Tignor.

Opener ‘Palace Of Time’ is a fine example of this changed aesthetic. At over 21-minutes long the piece accounts for about half of Tracing Back The Radiance’s total run-time. Its length also allows listeners to completely lose themselves in the pillowy keyboard drones, drones which are occasionally augmented by a languid lick of percussion, piano or what could be wind chimes. Tracing Back The Radiance’s title-track acts as a partner-piece to ‘Palace Of Time’. Almost as lengthy, this entry finds Cantu-Ledesma removing everything but the drone, allowing the track to shimmer and shine. These are transcendentally beautiful listens, the aural equivalent of late-afternoon light dappling a tree-lined path.

Sandwiched between this pair is ‘Joy’, a lilting instrumental with more motion to it than the other tracks. Over an undulating bed of marimbas a solitary reed instrument - possibly an oboe - spins out a curious circular melody. Gently-plucked strings and dawn-breaking organs enter in the second half. Though short and eventful by comparison to ‘Palace Of Time’ and ‘Tracing Back The Radiance’, ‘Joy’ is no less beguiling.

Jefre Cantu-Ledesma’s latest LP is one of the most delightful releases in the fields of drone, ambient and new age that we’ve heard for some time.

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  1. 1 Palace of Time   Jefre Cantu-Ledesma
  2. 2 Joy 5:00 Jefre Cantu-Ledesma
  3. 3 Tracing Back The Radiance   Jefre Cantu-Ledesma

Jefre Cantu-Ledesma

Mexican Summer

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Electronic and Electronica

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Ambient and Modern Classical

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