Jefre Cantu-Ledesma is an ambient electronic artist and multi-instrumentalist currently residing in Brooklyn. He’s been active for about 20 years, and while most of his work has been as a solo ambient electronic/drone musician, he’s also been in rock bands and has done lots of collaborations. The Texas native lived in San Francisco for a long time, only recently relocating to Brooklyn.
He’ll be playing at this September’s Hopscotch Music Festival in downtown Raleigh. When I started doing my Hopscotch homework, even though I don’t have any of Cantu-Ledesma’s records, I knew a little bit about him because of his celebrated collaboration with Liz Harris (aka Grouper).
Cantu-Ledesma and Harris have a project called Raum. They released an album called The Event of Your Leaving via Glass, House, and the word on the street is that they have a new record in the works. What people really talk about when they talk about the Liz Harris/Jefre Cantu-Ledesma project is a seven hour live performance that they did a few years ago. The piece, entitled “Circular Veil” was designed for listeners to drift in and out of sleep. The audience was provided with cushions, and the musicians sat on the floor the whole time. Lots of tape loops, but lots of live instruments too. They had to constantly manipulate something or other. They actually performed the piece twice. Once in Berlin, and then a shortened four-hour version in Cologne a couple of days later. Harris says that she’s almost always sleep deprived, and that she hadn’t slept for at least a day leading up to the Berlin performance. She says she herself drifted off a few times. The artists and the audience were in a state of half-sleep. It must have been incredible.
That one album Raum did is amazing, and I can’t wait for the new one. I don’t own a single one of Cantu-Ledesma’s solo records, but I’ve heard all of the newest one, which came out in February of this year via Mexican Summer. Although the album is meant to be absorbed as one piece rather than dissected into bit parts, this one has very convenient (and very long) fade-in and fade-out, so it almost stands alone.
“Pale Flower” by Jefre Cantu-Ledesma
This is something I could listen to for a few hours on end as I’m going to sleep.
Hopscotch originally had Cantu-Ledesma scheduled to play at Vintage Church on Friday night, the middle night of the two-day/three-night festival. That venue is, well, a church. I saw a couple of things there last year. It’s an awkward, but good place to see something like this. Something happened with the venue, and they won’t be hosting any shows this year. Their events were shifted to The Hive, which is a very narrow, cramped room in an upstairs bar. They have excellent beer selection, but it gets really crowded in there really quickly. The Jefre Cantu-Ledesma set has been rescheduled for Friday night 11:00pm to midnight at The Hive. As far as I can tell, this is not part of a tour. This looks like a one-off show.