Emotional Response continues it’s fifth year celebrations in welcoming two of the label’s long held favourite artists – Jefre Cantu–Ledesma and Alexis Georgopoulos – coming together perfectly for an album of laconic story-telling and atmospherics.
Over the past decade, Cantu–Ledesma and Georgopoulos have been frequent collaborators. With one another – Jefre’s recent "On The Echoing Green’ (Mexican Summer), Arp’s “The Soft Wave” (Smalltown Supersound) and The Alps “Le Voyage” (Type) – and with others. Jefre has worked with Grouper (aka Liz Harris), filmmaker Paul Clipson and has released music by Harold Budd, Oneohtrix Point Never and Keith Fullerton Whitman on his Root Strata imprint, while Alexis has worked with visual artists Tauba Auerbach and Doug Aitken, scored dance for Merce Cunningham, choreographer Jonah Bokaer and made liminal classical music with Canterbury composer Anthony Moore (FRKWYS 3 / RVNG Intl.).
In all of their projects, the two have always been masters of atmosphere. Veering between romantic abstraction, filmic ambiguity and suggested narrative, their music draws on personal and collective memory, letting things surface. Fragments Of A Season represents a new and distinct chapter in their ongoing work together, continuing this lineage of understated but resonant work.
Arising from conversations wherein each revealed that they’d been working on tracks with a similar feel in mind, the two quickly realized their songs fit together quite effortlessly. The goal was to do something immediate and spare – most songs simply use an old drum machine and a few chorused guitars, featuring live performances with minimal editing. The result, and indeed the goal of the project, was not to make an album that would simply sounds like what one would expect of the two – there are no modular synths or sequenced basslines, no motorik rhythms or overdriven distortions. Rather, to pursue a tangent of simplicity and clarity.
The result is an album of warmth and cool, sparse but evocative, earthy and luminous, narrative and abstract, taking influence from Les Disques Crepescule and early Cherry Red artists — the duo also cite Eric Rohmer’s “A Summer’s Tale” and the photography of Luigi Ghirri, whose image graces the cover.
Song titles provide narrative hints. As does New York-based writer Leigh Gallagher's short story enclosed within. Each song finds the story advancing – on the beach ("Marine"); at a discotheque ("Madagascar"); sleeping in the afternoon (“Mirror The Sky“). Memory of cobblestone streets and a recent relationship ("Cleo", “The Streets Are Filled With Rain“). A sense that this temporary idyll will end casts a shadow. Ultimately, for reasons unclear, it does ("Lost Summer").
There is the sense that a distinct arc has taken place. On some faraway beach, the buildings are white, the skies and sea turquoise. Waves rise and crest. A shaft of light crosses an empty room. A discotheque can be heard in the distance. A mist burns off. Over the course of the ensuing astral summer weeks, an encounter sets the world known previously in relief. Days stretch out and the nights hum.
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Harrowingly beautiful chamber pop/avant-electro experimentation from John Mills-Cockell, arguably one of the most forward-thinking compositional minds of the 70s. After his first band Intersystems folded, he went on to found Syrinx with Doug Pringle on saxophone and Alan Wells playing percussion, playing a number of Canadian coffee shops and going on to link with some big names like Miles Davis, Ravi Shankar, and Robert Moog. Incredible early modular synthesis - this comp is a must-listen! Josh Augustin