Jefre Cantu-Ledesma has been active in experimental music contexts including drone, ambient, post-rock and noise for almost two decades, though he greatly raised his profile with the excellent 2015 album A Year With 13 Moons for Mexican Summer. His latest, titled On the Echoing Green, continues his fascination with shoegaze, incorporating more reverb- and chorus-laden guitars, drum machines and even some guest vocals courtesy of Maxwell August Croy, Honey Owens and Sobrenadar.
"In a Copse" opens the record with a short intro of what sounds like warped, pitched-down piano and drums, before the 11 minutes of bliss that comprise "A Song of Summer" come in. "Echoing Green" continues this mode with less hiss over the chiming guitars, and "The Faun" introduces fuzzed out synths. "Tenderness," meanwhile, could almost be a Slowdive outtake.
"Vulgar Latin" ventures a little too far into harsh noise territory for its first half, while teasing random tonal elements again in its second half. It's interesting, but in the context of this album feels out of place. "Autumn" and "Door to Night" are similarly noisy, just shorter; "Dancers at the Spring," a more melodic track reminiscent of the first half of the album, is nice but feels a bit too meandering in this sequence.
Overall, On the Echoing Green is still an interesting listen with many enjoyable aspects, but a stronger, tighter EP might've been made from the first five tracks — or a stronger LP with less distortion and noise in the back half. (Mexican Summer)