Not enough people use the EP format effectively. A lot of bands just take it as a song dump, putting on random tunes from their catalogue that just don’t fit anywhere else, or using it as a mere teaser for a full album. This is fine enough I suppose, but few musicians realize the potential of the concise runtime of an EP – it’s really the short story to a full-length’s novel, a place to explore an idea in-depth without the stress of a long runtime. An EP should be no less cohesive than a really good full-length – in fact, it should probably be more so, considering that with such a short runtime there really isn’t any time for filler.
Luckily, there are some people who get it, and who actually excel with the immediate incisiveness of an EP; Montreal-based electronic musician CFCF (real name Michael Silver) is one of these. Through the clever use of song titles, Exercises, his fourth EP, reads like a short concept album despite being mostly instrumental.
It’s the kind of thing that could seem totally pretentious, but it’s anchored with some pretty great music – beyond being an exercise in conceptual throughlines, the ambient music put on display here is excellent. It’s somewhat minimalist, based on tinkling piano lines, shimmering synths and light percussion. It’s the kind of music that works as beautiful background music, but holds up under close scrutiny as well. It’s a succinct and effective electronic statement by CFCF, and it deserves a place on any ambient music aficionado’s shelf.