Eluvium Talk Amongst the Trees

[Temporary Residence; 2005]

Styles: ambient, drone
Others: Fennesz, Brian Eno, Sigur Ros, Keith Fullerton Whitman, Tim Hecker

The Beatles had The Rolling Stones. The Backstreet Boys had N'Sync. Britney had Christina. In those terms, some might have originally looked at Portland's Eluvium as America's answer to Austria's Fennesz. Fennesz, who blew up first, is considered to be the premier name in laptop melodies, and is, er... a male. Eluvium came out of nowhere in 2003 with Lambent Material. Unassuming and with little expectation, the album was a beautiful collection of looping melodies and subtle moments of brilliance that recalled elements of Fennesz's Endless Summer and perched the nondescript musician in the company of the genre's top names. Talk Amongst the Trees thus has the faintest hint of pressure. Pressure to break away from the pack and show the music community that Eluvium plays second fiddle to no tall Austrian. And does the album succeed? Reasonably so. Opening with the beautiful 10-minute track "New Animals from the Air," Eluvium shows himself as a master of melodic loops. Tiny crackles that evoke Tim Hecker pepper the track, while his love of melody shines throughout. On "Calm of the Cast-Light Cloud," Eluvium strips away the melodies and focuses on his other strength... drone. The white noise adds layers smothering a faint sound of strings and horns. The 16-minute "Taken" is most akin to Brian Eno's '80s ambient works, building synths upon synths to culminate in a wash of noise. "We say goodbye to Ourselves" and the finale "One" follow a similar structure heard throughout Talk Amongst the Trees. Eluvium's strengths and ultimately his offering to the genre is his mastery of melodies and loops. On this album, he shines throughout.

1. New Animals from the Air
2. Show us our Homes
3. Area 41
4. Everything to Come
5. Calm of the Cast-Light Cloud
6. Taken
7. We Say Goodbye to Ourselves
8. One

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