Jefre Cantu-Ledesma's Devotion
was released three months ago, runs at a brisk 20 minutes, and isn't the type of release that gives you much to discuss. This EP will not change your life--it probably won't even create much of a stir on most major publications's year-end lists. It sounds sorta like that Emeralds album that came out three years ago, and probably like a bunch of other albums/cassette tapes/VHS loops I've yet to unearth from the murky waters of the Internet. Nevertheless: this little nugget of beautiful noise is worth your time
. Go on, open up Google and let it fly. Watch the .rar folder materialize on your computer's desktop, throw that thing on your iPod, and listen to it while waiting for the bus. I'll wait.
I say this not only because I want you to listen to this EP--I do--but also because that period of waiting for something, of silently watching things take their course, seems to me like the environment in which Devotion
thrives. Insofar as an EP working entirely in synth drones, looping guitar lines, and crunchy fuzz can be “about” something, Devotion
seems to be about motion, both internal and external: little melodic motifs echo and pop on the inside and slowly generate kinetic energy, pushing forward their external skeletons like machinery. As soon as the transcendent buzz of “Difficult Loves” fades in, I imagine one of those old science videos, diagramming the movement of electrical information through our body's synapses: “The human brain...where will it go next?”
More than anything, Devotion
strikes me as refreshingly apolitical, dedicated entirely to exploring the intersections of cacophony and elegance. Jefre Cantu-Ledesma, as far as I can tell, is not interested in our re-interpretation of the past or the effects of infinite-growth capitalism on cultural values. What he's given us with this EP seems to me immensely more gratifying. This is a gorgeous, enveloping piece of noise, full of momentum and verve in a genre that often finds no need for such things. It makes its point, forcefully and beautifully, in the space of four exhilarating tracks and without an accompanying manifesto. Those who are more learned in the tropes of the genre may tell me that this is nothing new. But it sure as hell feels invigorating to me.