Radiance And Submission is the title of the latest endeavor for Montreal musician Michael Silver, who operates under the title CFCF taken from the call sign for the local CTV outlet. The Album is his first since stepping away from Toronto indie powerhouse label Paper Bag Records. Radiance And Submission observes CFCF continue his play with the unique electronic sound that made his call sign known to indie music snobs across the county yet this album plays out more like the soundtrack to a thought provoking movie with a sound the artist describes on his twitter as being, “new age deep thoughts.” There is still a fair deal of electronics to be found on this album but the synth and drum machines have been toned down to let a very saucy guitar show in a staring role and xylophone come into a supporting role.
The album opens up with “In Praise of Shadows,” a tune that is seemingly meant to illicit deep feelings of loneliness and it successfully does this by using incomprehensible street noise laid over a droning synth that begins to dance along with a saucy guitar making you feel almost too lonely to continue to be a part of it. By the time you reach song three “A Various Language (From the Same Hill,)” xylophone makes its best supporting actor debut and the acoustic guitar puts on the performance of a lifetime to show you why it was cast in the staring role.
In “Tethered in Dark” it is the Xylophone that steals the spotlight by creating a song that feels like it can only be truly appreciated with a trip to the aquarium where one stares off into the deepest depths of the tropical fish tank and comes to a sudden and profound realization. Vocals make their first appearance deep into the album on the track “The Ruined Map.” They seem to be used as a device that reconnects listener to album because it is quite easy to loose yourself in the expansive nature of this album. But just when you think, “The Ruined Map” has come to put you back on course the deep clarity found in the form of piano keys on “Blanketed in Snow a Place Returned,” comes along to return you to the deep.
From then on the album begins to draw to a close with, “La Soufriere.” As the guitar comes back from its absence to once again remind you of is performance and vocals become a part of the music once again. As if this album wasn’t already the soundtrack to a movie Silver edits in a sound clip from the 2004 movie Undertow staring British boy Jamie Bell, who stole our hearts as Billy Eliot way back in the day and a young Kristen Stuart long before she ever became known for her portrayal of Bella Swan in the Twilight Saga. The clip actually comes via the young Devon Alan who proclaims with far too much wisdom for an eight year-old. “I used to get confused, I used to get confused where things begin and when they end.
Devon’s performance is used once more in the last few minutes of the album to close it out with a triumphant shout heard throughout a vast field alongside crickets and is a fitting end to a soundtrack of new age thoughts in the form of music. Much like a film director who is able to deliver exactly the story that played out in his or her head on the screen Silver vividly captures his new age musical thought process in the tracks found on Radiance and Submission. I am more than willing to be that when awards season rolls on in this album will be tops amongst award chatter.
Luke Williams grew up a fan of punk and pop punk in a field of cows just outside of Barrie, Ontario. You can follow him on Twitter @musicwithluke