Review: CFCF – Exercises (2012)

Montreal-based DJ and electronic artist CFCF aka Michael Silver has released his second album, titled ‘Exercises’. Influenced by Philip Glass, Ryuichi Sakamoto and David Borden, and inspired by “institutional architecture and 70’s Canadiana”, this album is subdued and minimalistic. While CFCF has taken Exercises in a different direction from his previous disco-tinged release, ‘Continent’, the cinematic quality of his music still remains. Exercises also showcases CFCF’s versatility

The album picks up its pace as it moves on to the single “Exercise #3 (Building)” with melodic piano and synths layered over each other. The music video below perfectly captures the mood and visuals that this song conjures up.

I’m not sure if the 4th track, “Exercise #4 (Spirit)” was intended to sound a little eerie, or if the song title alludes to the paranormal but what I felt was suspense building up with droning synths in the background and another layer of synths that get louder and louder.

Every song on the album is instrumental, except for “Exercise #5 (September)”, an up-tempo rendition  of David Sylvian’s “September” in his album Secrets of the Beehive. This cover is thrice the length and twice the speed of the original, and consists of more elements (drum beats and synths). Even though this mini-LP is minimalistic, perhaps it only made sense to add on to the only vocal piece, of which the original version is as bare as could be- it’s less than 2 minutes long and only has pianos as accompaniment to the singing.

The rest of the album starts to slow down as it reaches its end– a journey through nostalgia and growth.  Each track and its title evoke different imageries, much like different scenes that make up a whole movie that you can’t help but visualise, and if that was what CFCF was going for, then he has definitely achieved it.

CFCF – Exercises  tracklisting:
Exercise #1 (Entry)
Exercise #2 (School)
Exercise #3 (Building)
Exercise #4 (Spirit)
Exercise #5 (September)
Exercise #6 (December)
Exercise #7 (Loss)
Exercise #8 (Change)

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Rating: 7.0/10