CFCF - Radiance and Submission - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

CFCF - Radiance and Submission

by Justin Pearson Rating:7 Release Date:2015-07-23

On third LP Radiance and Submission, Canadian electronic musician Michael Silver, aka CFCF, creates a soundscape that calms in its effortless breeziness. It's a brief and easy listen, but not in the 'easy listening' vein that makes one think of elevators and dental offices. You could even say it borders on new age, but it stays tight behind the line and never crosses over into that often stigmatized land inhabited by John Tesh, Yanni, or others of that ilk.

The album is less of a background and more of a backdrop. Instead of fading into your surroundings, it augments them in the manner of a curtain, closing off all the unnecessary aspects to shine a light on the now. It brings into focus whatever your current surroundings are and stages that location, whether physically or emotionally.

'In Praise of Shadows' calls to mind one of those busy, marketplace frenzies where the noise gets tuned out by an inner calm you've gladly tapped into. The confusion brought on by the background din of the crowd at the beginning of the song is gradually pushed down by an acoustic guitar as light as a fresh, welcome summer rain.

'Sculptures of Sand' stuns with an unsettling agileness. The quick, upward-pitched synth dances back and forth in its quiver before sustaining at each peak as if it's searching for something high above the rim of the earth. It sounds like an organic, subterranean transmission brought on by a deeply buried anxiety that's just starting to sprout.

Unhurriedly pitter-pattering its way along with chime-infused charm, 'A Various Language (From the Same Hill)' feels like it's live, in real time. Silver's guitar is soft, improvisational and completely called for as it touches upon a lull to send you to perfect, peaceful sleep.

'Tethered in Dark' is a harbinger of all things taking shape in darkened streets and alleyways with vent-like, cloudy moisture that bellows out in steamy synth puffs. Glass-like pings ring in the air, calling you toward the night, not away from it. Beckoning yes, scary no.

Silver's vocals make an appearance on 'The Ruined Map' and 'La Soufriere'. To say they're unwelcome might be a little unfair, but on an otherwise instrumental album the mood breaks a little, even as he keeps them forgivingly understated.

Radiance and Submission plays out like a collection of inward-seeking moments that serves to highlight those pure, specific feelings of time and place - the ones unbothered by intrusion from the outside. It seems appropriate to call it a soundtrack for your personal, most private life. It's simple, solitary... never seeking to be anything other than it is. Clearly, it's an album best listened to alone.

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