Split Screens is the recording project of San Francisco’s Jesse Cafiero - a multi-instrumentalist who shapes a love of widescreen pop music into something both subtle and stirring, where gentle musical landscapes are embellished with moments of blissful sonic exuberance. Having garnered early praise from the likes of Impose, My Kentucky Blog, and GoldFlakePaint, Cafiero returns this Fall with the first release since his debut LP ‘Before The Storm’, which arrived at the tail-end of 2014.
That long-awaited return comes in the form of a new six-song EP, to be released in the Fall of 2019. The result of a prolonged and personal journey, Split Screens new work is a reflection of the burn-out Cafiero experienced a year or so after that last album campaign. “My passion for why I started making music in the first place had started to dwindle,” Cafiero says of that time, “and while it’s never fun to put a project on an indefinite hiatus, that’s essentially what happened”.
To keep his creative juices flowing, Jesse shifted his focus to making collage art and also animating music videos with Bay Area bands, which saw his work featured on Vice. These two disciplines would eventually lead him back to writing music once again. “Approaching a new art-form really gave me the perspective and confidence I needed to fight back any self-doubt and dig deep into recording this EP,” he says.
Suitably, Everyday Static feels immediately more mature, the sense of melancholy more present, the awareness of time and space more pronounced than ever before, leading to his most engaging and personal work to-date.
Working with Jeremy Black (Langhorne Slim, Geographer), who has produced and engineered each of the Split Screens’ records, Cafiero plays the majority of the instruments on Everyday Static, and also reunited with drummer Rory O’Connor of Tycho. Most notably informed by Cafiero’s lap-steel guitar playing, which underpins so much of the EP’s most beautiful moments, the songs here go back to the roots of the Split Screens project, while also blossoming into graceful new pastures.
Opening track ‘What’s To Come’ reflects upon Cafiero’s aforementioned burn-out through wisened eyes, while ‘Need From Me’ highlights the warmness of the recordings, a shimmering vibraphone lending a rich counterpart to Jesse’s elegant vocals, which act as the record’s wistful heart. Elsewhere, ‘Back Again’ might be the EP’s stand-out moment, an emotive and introspective composition that unrolls through a gorgeous haze of instrumentation.
Just as Cafiero’s work away from music managed to inspire new creation in him, so it continues to weave its way into his next steps, with both the EP’s cover art and his upcoming surreal stop-motion video further proof of his craft; colorful new worlds to get lost in, much like the music itself.