Whether exploring the Peruvian jungle of Werner Herzog's 1982 film Fitzcarraldo, evoking the brutalist architecture of the 1960s, or channeling Fleetwood Mac, electronic musician CFCF (Mike Silver) creates compellingly crafted pop songs that aspire to embody ideas. His constantly evolving sound relies on an idiosyncratic but highly tuned palette to triangulate any number of adventurous musical reference points Silver chooses, from new age nature sounds to minimalist piano compositions, AM soft rock to Balearic-tinged beats to hair metal guitar ballads.
With his 2013 album Music for Objects, Silver explored the relationship between sound and the objects that exist in our daily lives. Each of the eight tracks on the album is named for a different object, inviting the listener to interpret the music within the conceptual framework of each thing. Around the same time, Silver released a mixtape called Belongings, Possessions Mix, which included samples from the soundtrack to Wim Wender's film about fashion designer Yohji Yamamoto in which composer Laurent Petitgand endeavored to embody a piece of clothing through a piece of music; an Elmer Bernstein composition for an object film by Charles and Ray Eames; and an album called Music for Commercials by Japanese composer Yasuaki Shimizu. Much of the music on the mixtape, Silver says, "consist[s] of short vignettes; strange, often pretty music whose original use was to sell products. Objections of consumerism and commercialism aside, there is something unusual and thrilling about the idea of trying to compose to an object for sale without sacrificing integrity."
This idea of integrity is central to CFCF's output, whether it applies to a musician, an object, or a song, as in the case of Music for Objects. What Ray and Charles Eames attempted to convey with their object films—in which a simple toy such as a spinning top was filmed in a way to express the most basic truths and beauties of the object, the "object-integrity" of the thing—Silver attempts to repurpose in service of musical specificity, immediacy, and emotion.
For his Intangibles contribution, CFCF further extends his research into the ways music can embody an idea, forgoing the format of the album, and instead venturing into the more instrumentalized realm of advertising music. With Targeted, Silver will offer his services as a composer, creating customized personal jingles and commercial soundtracks for interested consumers. Buyers will present Silver with the idea to be embodied (whether it be an object, a person, an experience, a theme, etc.) and through a series of conversations with the musician, construct a final piece of music, in turn exploring the spectrum between jingles that advertise products, and jingles that are products in and of themselves.
These pieces will most likely exist within the personal music libraries of the purchasers, but to encourage their dissemination, CFCF will also offer the option of purchasing digital ad space to activate each piece. For an additional cost, the buyer will receive a digital ad through YouTube's advertising network featuring the original composition, accompanied by a static, typographic ad designed by the Walker Art Center design department.
Upon purchase, the buyer will be directed to a website through which they will be asked to record a sound file of themselves describing their idea. This sound file will act as the starting point for the original composition. From there, the buyer will be placed in contact with CFCF to discuss the piece further.
2-second micro-jingle: $40
5-second jingle: $60
10-second Instagram soundtrack: $80
10-second Instagram soundtrack plus Instagram visual design: $150
30-second commercial soundtrack: $150
30-second commercial soundtrack plus YouTube ad design and placement: $350