Tuesday, January 12, 2010

review: CFCF Continent

Paper Bag Records, 2009
Review by Brian Tucker

CFCF: "Raining Patterns"

Michael Silver, the Montreal DJ known as CFCF, has stylishly crafted an album that serves the dual purpose of dance music or something to relax to. Throughout it unfurls with energy, vibrancy - all on its own terms. Continent sounds like an artist trying to please themselves and we’re lucky to be along for the experience. The result is partly bipolar in fine glorious fashion - sultry and emotional yet patient early on about not having to give everything up for one style. It is hardly a chill album, but still lends itself to intimate encounters.

CFCF - You Hear Colours from tommy boy on Vimeo.

Silver draws on the eighties, from dance music to electronic game sound bites - done far from obvious, begging thoughts of where have I heard that? But references are sparse, texturing them from the eighties as much as the nineties, combing those periods to craft something relevant for the next decade. But it’s more than catchy memories. Silver is adept at dreaming up atmosphere, think of sound layering Peter Gabriel used to make music.

Silver finds tribal heart in “You Hear Colours” and scratchy echoes on “Monolith”. “Raining Patterns” conjures up visuals of water drops falling all around. CFCF’s working of Fleetwood Mac’s 1987 hit “Big Love” sounds familiar to the original, feeling right at home here and reminding that the original felt more akin to the future than its late eighties birthplace. “Come Closer” is seductive, ripe for an MC and “Snake Charmer” sounds like a brilliant mid-eighties one-hit-wonder sans lyrics.

Whereas an artist like DJ Shadow delves into beats and copious amounts of samples the result is less about forming a music environment. CFCF succeeds at that, at building worlds and massive atmosphere with his music. At times it feels like noir-ish pop or recalls art film scores. Continent broods and jumps, moving with grace and electricity. It’s as if Vangelis detoured into synth pop territory and made scattered usage of squash beats. The whole seems an interlude between the current and the future, a world where Blade Runner may come to pass but with a lot more color.

Brian Tucker is the founder of Bootleg Magazine. He can be reached at myspace.com/avenuemagazinepresents and www.bootlegmag.com.

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