Montreal-based experimental electronic producer Mike Silver — known under the moniker CFCF — has come out with a wide variety of challenging music over his nearly decade long career. But his latest record, The Colours of Life, proves to be both the most difficult and the most pleasant of his releases to date.
Despite being the second full-length record of 2015 to his name, Silver did not rush the production of The Colours of Life, stating on his Bandcamp that he “started writing [The Colours of Life] in the first half of 2011.” It is hard to understand why, however, he took so long to complete it. For the entire 41-minute run time, CFCF glides through a ceaseless mid-tempo drum loop, with pleasant piano lines, Casio pan flutes, and sickly sweet synth washes. The Colours of Life sounds like the kind of music you don’t pay attention to in dentists’ waiting rooms.
Also on his Bandcamp, Silver explains his first inspiration for the record was Phil Collins’ 1981 track, “Hand in Hand” off the breakthrough debut solo album, Face Value. In fact, the entirety of The Colours of Life sounds as if Silver took the opening section of “Hand in Hand” and stretched it out to nearly an hour.
At first The Colours of Life seems almost too easy to listen to, fully embracing MOR music in every aspect. It becomes clear, however, that this was intentional. Consisting of one track in twelve movements, all sounding suspiciously alike, and all sounding uncomfortably agreeable, the record is nearly impossible to pay attention to. After ten minutes or so of the same unassuming synth sequence, the same steel drum line, the same shaker endlessly shaking in the background, drifting off from the music is unavoidable. Over the course of the record the only thing that jumps out is the monotony.
While CFCF’s other releases move between reverb drenched house music, studies in Brian Eno-esque ambience, and aggressive minimalism, they are, at their core, attention grabbing and interesting. But with The Colours of Life, Silver pushes his music to the edges of tolerable cheese, testing the listener not with innovation, but the extremely mundane.