Eluvium – Copia (2007): Review

Eluvium’s Matthew Cooper could easily be termed the Chameleon of ambient music. Although the genre has distinct, sometimes suffocating boundaries, his emphasis to change the soundscapes by approaching each release using an instrumental approach that distinctly evolves, comes as a refreshing surprise. From the disintegrating Guitar drone of his 2003 debut “Lambent Material”, to the all piano led, Glass likened follow up “An Accidental Memory In Case Of Death”, there’s always a left turn in Cooper’s creative output, and his fourth album “Copia” gravitates to orchestral atmospherics by using traditional string and brass elements along with echoing synths and considered Piano leads. The strength of “Copia” lies in the structured layers that develop with each piece and Cooper’s ability to develop each theme through melodic textures, creating a grand aura that on the whole works successfully.

The sweeping orchestral tones are set by the opener “Amreik”, a lush blend of French horns, trumpets and trombones, laying down an ambient composition that has been heard a million times before on synthesizers, and yet sounds fresh and organic using traditional instrumentation. The 10 minute “Indoor Swimming At The Space Station” evokes a kind of visual storyboard as synth strings build a sublime foundation that develops using woodwind instruments, whilst drifting in and out floats a lonely echoed Piano line, it envelops the listener with powerful imagery. “Prelude For Time Feelers” begins like a traditional Piano sonata with a gentle melody that progresses through the addition of brass and synth strings into a wall of sound that is both extremely memorable and affecting. The finale is the slow burning “Repose In Blue”, which on first listen feels like the most brooding and deliberately restrained composition on the album as a droning cello and accompanying brass anchors a developing roll of drums that launch like random fireworks creating a vibrant, dramatic close. It is undoubtedly a record that requires patience and attention, but for those willing to test the water “Copia” has bountiful rewards and is a great introduction to the Portland OR artist’s work.

“Copia” is one of those deliciously uncommon recordings which instigates a desire to (re)discover an artist’s back catalogue.

8/10

1 Amreik 3:18
2 Indoor Swimming at the Space Station 10:29
3 Seeing You Off the Edges 5:03
4 Prelude for Time Feelers 5:48
5 Requiem on Frankfort Ave. 2:41
6 Radio Ballet 3:12
7 (Intermission) 0:50
8 After Nature 1:51
9 Reciting the Airships 4:35
10 Ostinato 6:08
11 Hymn #1 1:32
12 Repose in Blue 9:18

Prelude For Time Feelers

Repose In Blue

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