Working in intricate, pointillist textures primarily piano and electronics, CFCF’s Michael Silver finds emotional resonance in small, contained, repeated patterns. His Music for Objects turns from the large scale landscapes of earlier EPs (The River and, most recently, Exercises) to focus on the quotidian. Inspired by a Wim Wenders documentary on the fashion designer Yoji Yamamoto, Silver looks for the ineffable in the objects that surround us, things we can hold in our hands like keys, bowls and glasses.
As in Exercises, Silver composes in the vein of minimalists like Steve Reich and Phillip Glass, layering percussive textures of synthesizer, piano and sampled instruments over one another in iridescent sheets of translucent sound. He worked almost entirely alone for this EP, bringing in only Francesco De Gallo, the sometime Dirty Beaches horn player, for a bit of saxophone on the album’s standout “Camera.” Even so, these tracks are densely populated with sounds that are familiar but not quite natural. Altered tones of reeds, brass, bass and other instruments drift through these pieces in ways that evoke, but do not quite replicate the organic sounds they resemble. (After half a dozen listens, I still could not make up my mind whether the saxophone in “Camera” was real or synthesized.)
Each track is named for a specific object, yet the connection between the titular “thing” and the music itself is elusive, glancing, never quite obvious. You might read a bit of descriptive narrative into the transparent clarity of “Glass” or the circular, gamelan-like cadences of “Turnstile” or the light-filled and visionary playful-ness of “Camera,” or you might not. Silver says he named the pieces after he wrote them, trying to connect the music’s emotion to items in his surroundings. As a result, you get the sense of warm, sensual connection to the world in these compositions, but not actual things. This is music for objects, not about them. Yet Silver does succeed in finding the transcendent in small, closely defined musical motifs that fit into ordinary experience like a set of keys fits the hand. And, in doing so, he imbues the mundane with a spiritual significance and beauty. This is the ordinary world made radiant, surreal and strange, its everyday objects glowing with internal light.
DOWNLOAD: “Camera” “Glass”