This ‘CFCF’ article was written by Yasmin La Ronde, a GIGsoup contributor
They say three’s a charm, and when it comes to Montreal’s finest, perhaps it isn’t entirely true. This is Michael Silver, composer of CFCF third full-length LP: ‘Radiance and Submission’. A supporter of the modern electronic scene, this LP is the furthest anyone has seen CFCF from his original roots of mid-tempo electronic sounds. It is an attempt of fusing electronic and folk features together – something that rarely succeeds, and it is this combination that Silver would let one half dominate whilst the other influenced, but it’s this that pushes the boundaries into an uncomfortable realm.
The opener ‘In Praise of Shadows’ pushes the contemporary guitar sounds into unfamiliar waters, but it creates a distinct familiarity to that of Silver’s previous works with a traditional rise and fall structure. You become engulfed by the familiar sounds, and yet there is something about this album that stops you from blocking the world out.
‘Sculptures of Sand’ continues to distort the link between acoustic and electronic – a track that repeats itself with uncomfortable ease.
But as we venture onwards in Silver’s journey, ‘A Various Language (From the Same Hill)’ erupts with a mystical clang of a soft guitar balanced with the ever so prominent synth. The moody undertone feels cheap and unwanted but an interesting combination from Silver.
As the nocturnal mood remains, ‘Tethered in Dark’ extorts more detail, and as the haze begins to subside you find yourself submerged in palm-muted riffs before being plunged back into the darkness.
Eventually you can see a light at the other end with ‘The Ruined Map’. The vocals explore an unusual turn for the album, moving you away from the darkness of the folk/electronic combination. But as welcoming as this track is, it still doesn’t fit perfectly.
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As the album starts to reach its final point the track ‘Blanketed in Snow a Place Returned’ keeps us at bay from the darkness, it keeps us lingering on the edge of hope and despair. It is as if Silver is keeping us on our toes, to expect the unexpected.
‘La Soufriére’ is a track that instantly reminds you of Silver’s electronic roots, but within seconds it is transformed into something almost songlike. Perhaps one of the shorter tracks to appear on the album but it is this that holds the uneven vision together.
The album ends with ‘Two Mirrors’, an undertone into what is really real. The fingerpicked guitar immerses you into the depth of the unknown whilst you are surrounded by harmonious synths, but you are then pulled away when you hear the voice of a child’s laughter.
This isn’t Silver’s best piece of work, but he still has the ability to alter those lonely moments in life with a pair of headphones blocking the world out, to one in which we let everything in.
‘Radiance and Submission’ is out now on Driftless Recordings