For his last EP ‘Exercises’, Montreal’s CFCF showed a different side of his palette with a series of subdued piano and synth based pieces. Pulling from influences like Philip Glass, Ryuichi Sakamoto and David Borden, among others, and using institutional architecture and 70s Canadiana as a framework, the EP has a distinctly 20th century feel.
Opener “1 (Entry)” lures us in with a melancholy bed of synths, while standout “3 (Building)”‘s rolling piano melodies build to a cathartic crescendo. The lone vocal piece, “5 (September)”, is a cover of the opener to David Sylvian’s ‘Secrets of the Beehive’ album, refitted with 2-step percussion and wintry pads. This is a change of pace for CFCF to be sure, but no less cinematic and evocative than his 2009 debut ‘Continent’, though where that record evoked long stretches of neon road and epic rainforests, ‘Exercises’ is all snowy walkways and long corridors, endless escalators ascending to desolate concrete plateaus. Each track feels like an exploration of lost memories, studies in nostalgia, exercises in spatial remembrance.
CFCF is the stage name of Canadian electronic musician Michael Silver. Based in Montreal, Silver took the name CFCF from the call sign of the city’s CFCF-TV.
CFCF’s debut LP, ‘Continent’, was an impressive collage of vintage electronic textures evoking grandiose landscapes worthy of a Michael Mann film. ‘The River’, an EP based partly on Werner Herzog’s classic film Fitzcarraldo, deepened a growing obsession with conjuring far-away landscapes and voyages through a style which is at times melancholy, propulsive and ecstatic. Working in genres ranging from house and disco to ambient and new age to rap and R&B, and pulling influences from Peter Gabriel and Popol Vuh to Mr. Fingers and DJ Screw, CFCF’s music is at once versatile and far-reaching yet eminently listenable and recognizably pop, and always vivid.
Since these two releases Silver has stayed busy with a series of evolving mixtapes. ‘Do U Like Nightbus?’ explores the titular “genre” through his remixes of Aaliyah, Ciara and ‘Twin Peaks’, while ‘Reincarnation’ presents a dark mindmeld of exotic chants, pounding drums, R&B crooners and menacing dancefloors. As with his own music, you get the feeling you are embarking on a fantastic journey to an unknown destination.
As a DJ, CFCF has toured across Europe and the Americas in a variety of contexts. He’s DJed with indie acts such as Toro y Moi, Neon Indian, and Caribou, played The Museum Of Modern Art’s PS1 venue with Animal Collective and Oneohtrix Point Never and full on parties with Hercules and Love Affair and The Juan MacLean among many others.