Regulars of Montreal’s Green Room are already familiar with DJ Mike Silver’s mastery of music. He’s been a mainstay at their Saturday-night party for years, and he can kill the dance floor with anything from obscure punk to a hip-hop slow-burner. But this Thursday, under his moniker CFCF, he’ll be making his first SXSW appearance at Speakeasy, where he’ll most likely play tracks from his luminescent debut album, Continent. Released late last year, this exercise in electro-pop perfection (there is zero filler on this one) has established Silver as one of the most promising DJ/producers working today. Here, he takes us on a personal tour of his Continent.
“Monolith” – Probably my favorite track on the album. Though I tend to include house and ambient influences in most songs, this is the most successful and seamless pairing of the two. Initially the song didn’t have the big house climax, and simply faded with all the tension left unresolved. The addition really complemented the first part of the song, in a surprising way.
“Half Dreaming” – The reprise actually came first, but after I’d made it I felt the mysterious melodies deserved a bit more attention, and thought they might make a good little odd disco track. I’m quite proud of the way the drums and synths interplay in the “chorus” of the song. The guitar lines take the back seat as accents to the rhythm. And the ambient finale kind of cleanses it all.
“Letters Home” – Definitely an attempt to update classic house in a kind of balearic style, as others have mentioned. Some think the pan flute is too cheesy, but that’s never been a word I like to use in relation to music. Besides, no one said it was cheesy when Fever Ray used it on the amazing “Keep the Streets Empty.”
“Come Closer” – This is an ode to 00’s synth pop, Timbaland and Mr. Fingers. Definitely one of the few times I’ve gotten so unrestrained in terms addressing house and techno influences, but I was trying to make a kind of pop song in the end.
“Snake Charmer” – The flipside to “Come Closer,” a totally instrumental epic guitar “world beat” jam. I just wanted to make some psychedelic, slow-burning pop disco. Though the guitars are drenched in delay, I’m no The Edge quite yet.
“Half Dreaming reprise” – I believe the original project file to this was called “owls in the trees.” Kind of indicative the of the mood I was going for. I think it was made during a serious Twin Peaks kick.
“Raining Patterns” – An attempt at a more atmospheric version of the stripped down sound present on the Panesian EP. This was also the first song I made after switching from PC to Mac!
“Big Love” – Originally made as a contribution to an 80s cover project, I had to rescind the offer after the track began to take on a life of its own. Probably the most straightforward “disco” I’ve ever done. The track is really an ode to Arthur Russell framed through a Fleetwood Mac cover.
“Invitation to Love” – I’d sort of happened upon the Alan Parsons track and thought it would make a great little disco song. When I was finished I did an Internet search to see if it had been sampled before, and discovered the Quiet Village track “Pillow Talk.” Great song, but I think we both did very different things with the source in the end so they can stand alone from each other.
“Summerlong” – A hazy interlude. Kind of an attempt to bring some sunlight to the record, I think.
“You Hear Colours” – My attempt at a mixture of psych, hip-hop and balearic ended up being pretty moody. Tommy Boy’s wonderful video was the finishing touch in my mind that gave the track its feel.