Eluvium Copia

[Temporary Residence; 2007]

Styles: ambient, drone, post-rock
Others: Rachel’s, Fennesz, Brian Eno, Sigur Rós, Keith Fullerton Whitman, Tim Hecker

A contemporary deity of the ambient scene, Eluvium is showing considerable growth in a genre that's most prized for its stasis. While it seemed in his formative releases Matthew Cooper (the wizard behind the Eluvium curtain) was feeding from a muse very similar to that of Fennesz, one might say Copia marks a definitive moment in his gravitation away from the digital and toward the organic. Better touchstones for this release (and really his two prior) might be Rachel's or Sigur Rós.

But in no way is he creating work derivative of other sounds. There's still a commitment to uncluttered, clean compositions, where melody lines repeat and evolve slowly and methodically. The scope of Copia is intentionally epic it seems, with its two best pieces clocking in around 10 minutes. The first of these is the second track, "Indoor Swimming at the Space Station," as dreamily evocative a title as I've ever encountered. Over a foundation of simple synth strings builds an echoing, shimmering piano line, eventually met with some woodwind accents. Over time, the strings rise to subsume the piano and woodwinds, and the result is something appropriately and celestially cathartic.

"Repose in Blue," the other large-scale track, closes the album with a melancholy mix of synth strings and tentative brass. Toward the mid-section, muted explosions resound in the background, and one might even think this is a deliberate meditation on the current state of the world. Though blue is the appropriate color to describe it, despair isn't the emotion. Rather, better mood indicators might be restraint and resolve. While spare in its construction, Copia offers a bounty of emotion for those who give it the chance.

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