Submit to the Ethereal Radiance
CFCF is the moniker of Montreal electronic music producer Michael Silver; under this relatively ambiguous title he has produced some of the most memorable ambient/new age records in recent memory. Silver is still finding ways to freshen up his thoughtful electronic musings. His latest release for Paper Bag Recordings, Radiance and Submission, provides listeners a diverse collage of chiming, upbeat sound landscapes.
The first third of the album follows in the footsteps of its forbearers, perfecting the formula Silver has continually honed as CFCF. “In Praise of Shadows” opens with a lightly pulsing backdrop as voices from many languages enter the mix, quickly fading out under a wash of chiming acoustic guitars and radiant keyboards.
From the ethereal female vocals during the intro of “Tethered in Dark” to the lilting guitar riffs of “Two Mirrors,” this meditative motif continues throughout the album. It is hard to classify most of the tracks on Radiance and Submission as traditional songs; they are more accurately described as “mood setters.” This music is the perfect soundtrack for a pensive afternoon of self-examination.
“The Ruined Map” is one exception to this instrumentals-only rule. With very similar instrumental dynamics to the others on the album, the song is defined by its quivering vibrato guitars and Silver’s hushed, sweetly-soft vocals. His vocals reappear on the ensuing song, “La Soufriere,” never to be heard again on the album. Once again, they are utilized to great effect, bringing a whole new depth.
With deep, thoughtful songs like the ones heard on Radiance and Submission, it is easy for the artist to get carried away and draw the track listing deep into the 7-15 minute range. Luckily, Silver demonstrates good quality control by keeping his compositions fairly compact, never once going over the 7-minute mark. It makes each of the song’s unique characteristics much more impactful.