- 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. The two tracks that feature the most complex arrangements, "Sate Padang" and "Pleasure Centre," should sound familiar to International Feel fans. Their rubbery rhythms tap into the same exoticism of label-mates José Padilla and Len Leise, evoking an untouched natural paradise that only exists in the mind. Quieter moments like "In The Courtyard" and "Lighthouse On Chatham Sound" recall Silver's ambient work, and it's this languor that defines the EP. "Fleurs Laissés Dans Un Taxi" is a tableau of idle guitar strums—like a busker performing in an empty train station, its tranquility is mesmerizing.
As much as On Vacation takes cues from International Feel's Balearic sound, the inspiration for it started somewhere closer to Silver's home. The music was originally meant for a project invoking American landscapes, inspired by the portrayal of the Southwest in Wim Wenders' 1984 film Paris, Texas—a cult classic noted for its expressive, wordless pathos and unforgettable vistas, the kind of movie that invites you to get lost in its incredible backdrops. On Vacation operates the same way: even the rhythmic parts can feel motionless, with metronomic beats that induce contemplation more than movement. The way simple sounds repeat and echo on "Chasing" or "Vermont" induces daydreaming, while the moving parts of the accordion-led "Arto" settle into an exquisite hush.
You don't have to search long to find other artists paying lip service to new age, chillout and similar sounds. Long seen as relics from a bygone era, that music is now the stuff of reissues and new endeavours alike. Trendy as Silver's interests may have become, On Vacation feels no less personal and awe-inspiring in its stillness.
01. Sate Padang
03. In The Courtyard
04. Pleasure Centre
06. Fleurs Laissés Dans Un Taxi
07. Lighthouse On Chatham Sound