Exercises

CFCF

Paper Bag Records, 2012

http://www.paperbagrecords.com/bands/cfcf

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 06/20/2012

Montreal’s Michael Silver (a.k.a. CFCF) has quite a knack for quiet piano and charming synth work, his latest endeavor being a part of his series of mixtapes that have followed a specific sound. Here he plays heavily with nu-disco, house and ambient structures, his melodies buried subtly beneath the arrangements that often sound cinematic in scope.bim_ad_daily_vault_print_250

Starting out with a repetitive piano number, “Exercise #1 (Entry),” CFCF brings in quaint synth to help lay the foundation for the remainder of the disc. ‘’Exercise #2 (School)” begins with an almost childlike melody, and segues into a nearly meditative, calming journey that illustrates his skilled songcraft. From there things get more ambient, often sounding like a soundtrack to a science fiction movie, relying on moody yet playful instrumentation, the layered synth getting pretty eerie. There’s actually some gentle vocal work on “Exercise #5 (September),” a sparse track that breaks up the otherwise instrumental work. The album highlight rests with “Exercise #4 (Spirit),” a quick blast of beautifully layered perfection. Near the end, “Exercise #6 (December)” retreats back to the sadder tones -- a colder, melancholic arrangement where the droning synth intertwines with the piano that proves to be a devastatingly gorgeous affair.

As imperative as like-minded artists Eluvium or even Mono, despite being a very experimental and often abstract listen, CFCF actually yields some universal pop moments within these cautious gems, turning minimalism and subdued songcraft into an adventurous, thoughtful listen.

Inspired by institutional architecture and ’70s Canadia, and taking influences from Philip Glass, Ryuichi Sakamoto, and David Borden, CFCF’s sophomore effort is a chilling exercise of subdued electronic compositions, in contrast with previous work that was more akin to disco music. Gentle beats, dreamy atmospheres, twinkling keys, and endless synth tones make this one a truly unique listen in a sub- genre of music that is an all too often overlooked aspect of indie-rock.

Rating: B

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© 2012 Tom Haugen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Paper Bag Records, and is used for informational purposes only.