Published Feb 17, 2016Montreal native Michael Silver's fifth LP as CFCF, On Vacation, is the second entry in Uruguayan label International Feel's recent mini-album series. As such, On Vacation clocks in at a brisk eight tracks, and is best appreciated as a stylistic exercise.
The style in question here is new-age, and much of one's appreciation of the album will hinge on their affection for this oft-maligned sub-genre, as Silver embraces it fully, employing a sound palette straight from the style's late '80s/early '90s heyday.
Unsurprisingly, the mood is light and airy. Highlights include "Pleasure Center," a groovy slice of new-age jazz that sounds like a 1990 Vangelis B-side, and "Chasing," whose playful acoustic strumming and shimmering pads call to mind some kind of moonlit pursuit. "Arto," however, with its clichéd accordion line, is a Parisian tone poem that, while impeccably performed and produced, amounts to little more than a sonic postcard. Similarly, album opener "Sate Padang" is a master-class in style and pacing, but not much else.
Ultimately, if one were to take issue with On Vacation it would be along these lines. Beyond its expertly sourced sound-bank, it offers little more than ambience and mood; it's a loving recreation of a style, but one lacking in innovation. Those familiar with Silver's work know he is fond of smaller-scale thematic/stylistic exercises like this, and on these grounds On Vacation succeeds nicely, but those looking for a bolder artistic statement may be disappointed by its conventionality. (International Feel)