Album Review: memoryland by CFCF

Sydney Chatani, Radio General Manager

“memoryland” is the latest album by Montreal-based electronic music producer CFCF, released on April 9 by label BGM Solutions. CFCF as a project has been active since the late 2000’s, beginning with remixes of the day’s popular electronic before steadily building a catalog of solo material through the 2010’s. This album is billed as an homage to the musical landscape and wider pop culture of the late 1990’s, clearly apparent in both its marketing aesthetic as well as its sonic palette. Relying heavily but not exclusively on electronic production, “memoryland” blends elements of IDM, house, breakbeat and rock to create a varied and consistently enthralling record.


welcome.WAV: A brief sparse intro, consisting of ethereal synth chords and a myriad of distant voices welcoming the listener to the record.


Life is Perfecto: Transitioning seamlessly from the introductory track, this track slowly builds an IDM-heavy atmosphere featuring a persistent guitar which underpins most of the track, along with dense breakbeat drums and a variety of synths interspersed throughout.


Nostalgic Body: Glitchy and distinctly electronic, this track alternates through a variety of synthesizers and electronic drums to create a truly alien atmosphere.


Model Casting: Mainly driven by a distant guitar lead, this track begins slowly over spoken word vocals before building to a dense and energetic finish complete with overpowering synths and glitchy IDM drums.


suburbilude: A reverb and distortion heavy interlude without much variation, ending with a spoken word sample reflecting on the alienation of suburban adolescence. 


Punksong: A clear homage to the punk and shoegaze scenes which thrived in the 90s, this brief track is driven by a distorted guitar and essentially completely absent of the electronic influence which permeates the record.


Night/Day/Work/Home: An upbeat house track, this song alternates between a high pitched vocal sample and lightly digitized verses from CFCF himself. 


Gravure Idol: A mostly ambient electronic cut, this track is mostly led by dissonant, pulsing synths and interspersed with melodic bells and chords.


i regret the jet-set: Another brief interlude, this track features the sort of inoffensive acoustic music you might expect to hear on an elevator or at a coffee shop, complete with the ambiance to match.


Self Service 1999: Another house track, here led by a short synth loop and a prominent, varied bass. The feel and atmosphere of the track is distinctly reminiscent of a house party. 


Slippery Plastic Euphoric: Driven by a rapid and persistent drum loop, this track slowly layers on synth basses and stabs before a slow, pulsing outro.


After the After: A more subdued and traditionally structured track, this time featuring vocals by CFCF. Sonically, the track incorporates house drums, brief glitchy synths and an acoustic guitar playing higher notes in an impressive blend.


dirty: A brief, downtempo interlude led by an acoustic guitar and underpinned by a distant, stretched synth.


End — Curve of Forgetting: Characterized by its overwhelming silence, this track alternates between a handful of distinct, mostly electronic segments which slowly build before abruptly ceasing, leaving the listener enveloped in quiet echoes.


Heaven: Featuring the singer of Kero Kero Bonito, this somber track begins electronically, complete with synthesizers and arranged drums, before transitioning to a heavy finish led by an acoustic guitar and drums.


The Ultraviolet Room: An acoustic outro led by bass and slow jazz drums, the track begins with vocals distorted beyond any recognition and ends with a carefully played saxophone.


Ultimately, I think “memoryland” is an outstanding album. While it wears its influences on its sleeve, its arrangement and production are distinctly modern and not overly derivative. The album is distinctive of an era, both musically as well as in its creator’s life. If the album could be said to be about anything, between its disporate vocals, samples and finely crafted atmosphere, it would be about the variety of emotions and experiences associated with coming of age. The tracks are crafted lovingly and with major and minute variation, making for an engaging listen which feels much shorter than its runtime. Overall, the album is exemplary and well worth a listen. I rate “memoryland” 5/5 Spinnaker Sails.