Pat Metheny, Phil Collins and Windham Hill are all important ingredients in Michael Silver's musical melting pot. As CFCF, Silver's body of work is heavily referential, often reaching for the cheesy ends of music history. Recent albums, like The Colours Of Life on 1080p, have dipped into smooth jazz-fusion and new age. The Grammy-nominated Canadian producer moves to Mark Barrott's International Feel for his latest release, digging into the label's preoccupation with classic Balearic sounds.Like Silver's last few records, On Vacation is heavy on instrumentation, including saxophone, guitar and even accordion.
CFCF's Michael Silver knows his way around a smart chord change and has a lovely voice, but he tends to work less as a songwriter than a collector of atmospheres. These can take a variety of forms: Last year's The Colours of Life took whimsical Balearic themes—rippling marimba, ringing electric guitar, New Age keys, pitter-pat CR-78 rhythms—and stretched them into a 40-minute mood piece. Exercises paid tribute to Ryuichi Sakamoto's keyboard compositions, and Music for Objects projected Philip Glass' pulse minimalism through the lens of Japanese electronic musicians like Hiroshi Yoshimura and Joe Hisaishi.
Following two outstanding 2015 full-lengths and an unexpected Grammy nomination for Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical (which he tragically lost to a remix of "Uptown Funk"), Montreal native CFCF (Mike Silver) released the serene LP On Vacation on International Feel Recordings. The album finds Silver continuing to explore his obsession with the softer sounds of the '80s, populating his tracks with Sade-like lite-pop drum machines, fretless bass guitar, and calming new agey synthesizers. This album contains far more acoustic instruments than his prior work, ranging from circular woodwind rhythms to thumb pianos, and even accordions that seem perfect for a romantic lunch at a streetside French café.
Montreal native Michael Silver's fifth LP as CFCF, On Vacation, is the second entry in Uruguayan label International Feel's recent mini-album series. As such, On Vacation clocks in at a brisk eight tracks, and is best appreciated as a stylistic exercise. The style in question here is new-age, and much of one's appreciation of the album will hinge on their affection for this oft-maligned sub-genre, as Silver embraces it fully, employing a sound palette straight from the style's late '80s/early '90s heyday.