Agitated Atmosphere: Jefre Cantu-Ledesma - A Year With 13 Moons

Agitated Atmosphere, Album Reviews
01/23/2015
Justin Spicer

As major labels continue to exist behind the times, artists and labels with little capital and lesser reputations are producing some of the most innovative, interesting, and inspiring music. Whether it’s creating a new niche in digital technology or looking to once obsolete formats, Agitated Atmosphere hopes to pull back the curtain on a wealth of sights and sound from luminaries such as Jefre Cantu-Ledesma.

It’s difficult to thoroughly explain the appeal of drone. Anyone can recognize a rock riff or pop hook and parse it down to its most boring elements. But with an expansive and elusive genre, pinpointing why some artists falter and others endure hasn’t quite become a Nate Silver quotient.Yet something raw and quantifiable must be at work to explain the track record of Jefre Cantu-Ledesma. One of the minds behind the Root Strata label, not only does he possess keen skill in finding and nurturing experimental composers and drone artists, but he deftly maneuvers to find himself oft mentioned with modern contemporaries held in highest regard.

His first foray on venerable Mexican Summer, A Year with 13 Moons is well poised to lift him into that post-secret echelon Daniel Lopatin and Bethany Cosentino occupy. Though his “peers” are decidedly making more distinguishable music, it’s not nearly as polished or contemplative. A Year with 13 Moons is the place where modern drone and classic new age meet, though neither really engulf the other. Yet what happens is something that can’t be scientifically explained. The album has moments where drone yields to pop (“Disappear”) and new age becomes angular rock (“Agate Beach”).

It’s unlikely this is a radio friendly unit shifter, to borrow a cynical long-standing ideal. But Mexican Summer recognizes when an artist has made the jump from whispered cassette collectable to tried and true pioneer. While some may turn their noses at the leaps made by formerly held musical loves, no Cantu-Ledesma fan is going to find themselves out of love with A Year with 13 Moons. As with any hard-to-explain scientific theorem, how Cantu-Ledesma has created an album as expansive and innovative as his canon, yet wholly poised to be a breakout is anyone’s guess. It’s beyond label and distribution, that much is for certain.

Justin Spicer is an editor and journalist who writes for Tiny Mix Tapes and Ad Hoc among others. You can find him on Twitter.

Related News & Reviews

Agitated Atmosphere Album Reviews

Agitated Atmosphere: Thurston Moore & John Moloney: Caught on Tape - Full Bleed

As major labels continue to exist behind the times, artists and labels with little capital and lesser reputations are producing some of the most innovative, interesting, and inspiring music. Whether it’s creating a new niche in digital technology or looking to once obsolete formats, Agitated Atmo...


Read More
Album Reviews

Album Review: Viet Cong - Viet Cong

When's the last time you listened to a record and thought to yourself, "Wow, that's a sound you don't hear every day". Calgary based post-punk quartet Viet Cong (featuring members of now-defunct Calgary act Women) drop their self-titled first LP this week on Jagjaguwar, and it's one of those reco...


Read More
Local Music Album Reviews

Album Review: Sleater-Kinney – No Cities To Love

Listening to No Cities To Love, the eighth album by Sleater-Kinney, has to be done with one thing in mind: Sleater-Kinney did not have to make this album. That's not meant in a idol-worshipping, "we're not worthy" way, but quite literally. They all have alternate careers that they're perfectly ha...


Read More
Agitated Atmosphere Album Reviews

Agitated Atmosphere: Noveller - Fantastic Planet

As major labels continue to exist behind the times, artists and labels with little capital and lesser reputations are producing some of the most innovative, interesting, and inspiring music. Whether it’s creating a new niche in digital technology or looking to once obsolete formats, Agitated Atmo...


Read More
Click anywhere to return to the site