Jefre Cantu-Ledesma

On A Year With 13 Moons, Jefre Cantu-Ledesma is hitting a new high. A companion to his last album Love is A Stream (Type, 2010), 13 Moons is a dense, swirling mass. Hypnotic guitar and drum performances coalesce with Modular synth squalls and otherworldly textures –– combining overdriven guitars, avant-garde composition with the informal approach of underground tape weirdos (like Robert Turman, K. Leimer) into a lovely brocade of harmony and dissonance.

 Born & raised in Texas, Ledesma’s formative artistic years were spent studying painting & sculpture in San Francisco. He began playing & releasing music in 1996 and has developed a steady relationship as a collaborator – he’s released notable collaborations with Liz Harris (aka Grouper) as Raum, with Alexis Georgopoulos in his Arp project and with their ensemble The Alps, as well as filmmaker Paul Clipson. Ledesma also founded the influential label, Root Strata, who have released music by Oneohtrix Point Never, Keith Fullerton Whitman, and Grouper, and continue to release new and archival works.

 A Year With 13 Moons, a nod to a Rainer Werner Fassbinder film, was recorded at the Headlands Center for the Arts, just across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco – where he and Clipson were artist in residence. It was a time of major transition. As he describes it, “the time at the Headlands was a real gift – of space, time and being cared for. This allowed me to create music in a way I never had before, on a day–in, day–out basis for hours on end. I stopped caring about end results and fell in love with the process. I learned how to let the music create itself in a way, to lead me rather than trying to force it down a path. I would start each session with a simple rhythm, or sound or a guitar riff & see where that led – it was cathartic, freeing and ultimately really transformed my approach to music making. In the end I was left with literally hours & hours of recordings. A Year With 13 Moons was culled from these and formed while traveling the week after I left the residence.”

 The album was recorded during a residency at the Headlands Center for the Arts, which allowed Jefre the time and freedom to “let the music create itself in a way, to lead me rather than trying to force it down a path.” Cantu was interested in ways of “conveying memory in music without being sentimental – translating the fog of images, people and places that (he’d) experienced in the last two years into a body of work that could still be ambiguous & leave space for the listener to enter.”

 Ledesma has released notable collaborations with Liz Harris (aka Grouper) as Raum, with Alexis Georgopoulos of Arp and The Alps, as well as filmmaker Paul Clipson. He also founded the influential label, Root Strata, who have released music by Oneohtrix Point Never, Keith Fullerton Whitman, and Grouper.

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