Release Date: Jul 31, 2015
Record label: Driftless Recordings
Genre(s): Electronic, New Age
Toward the end of 2013, Mike Silver, aka CFCF, said in an interview that he almost felt his newest album, Outside, was “a bit too epic, like I went a bit too far.” Radiance and Submission, which was recorded that winter, often reads like a conscious reaction to that feeling. At eight songs in length, the record floats by in not much more than half an hour. Beyond mere running time, Silver leaves significantly more open space in his compositions this time around.
I never gave up on night bus. Along with glo-fi, seapunk, witch house, and a host of other disyllabic hashtags, "night bus" was derided during the great microgenre boom of the early 2010s—irrefutable evidence, it was thought, of the Internet's insistence upon inter-genre incest. But unlike a lot of its contemporaries, night bus was never as easy to define as influence + influence or adjective + genre.
Moving away from the downtempo electronic production that took priority in his earlier work, a more prominent emphasis on acoustic instruments lately has been a slight change of pace for Michael Silver, known better as CFCF. With Radiance and Submission, the Montreal musician attempts a serene matrimony of the two musical sides that struggles to strike a balance between stimulating and stale when it comes to the record's overarching sound. Digging deep within the layered intricacies of "In Praise of Shadows," the luminous "Tethered in Dark" and the soothing "Blanketed in Snow a Place Returned" is undoubtedly rewarding, though not everything is as calculated and complementary.
For Montreal’s Michael Silver, better known as composer/producer CFCF, everything is in flux. Originally an advocate of the modern electronic production toolbox — particularly its steady stream of crackling MIDI keypad beats, ghostly synth lines, and pervading bass — he’s also shown interest in open-air, even acoustic arrangements. On his third full-length, Radiance and Submission, the meditative soundscaper attempts to fully fuse pristine electronics and folk-inclined features.
Every cool and uncool musical movement of the 80s has experienced a rebirth, so it's no surprise that that era's New Age sounds are also experiencing a resurgence, especially given the heavy saturation of yoga studios in urban centres. CFCF (aka Montreal's Mike Silver) started his career making laid-back synth disco, but his recent material has focused increasingly on the interplay between his serious, experimental, ambient influences and shimmering, floaty, meditation-soundtrack vibes. Radiance And Submission adds acoustic guitar and vocals into that mix, evoking an even sleepier Bon Iver at times.