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Eluvium - Copia

  by Andrew Carver

published: 6 / 5 / 2007

Eluvium - Copia
Label: Temporary Residence
Format: CD


Stunning new album from Eluvium, the project of Mathew Cooper who proves asuccessor of sorts to modern composers like Phillip Glass, Terry Riley and Arvo Part as well as experimental artists like Glenn Branca and Rhys Chatham

Matthew Cooper is the master of the one-man symphony. A successor of sorts to modern composers like Phillip Glass, Terry Riley and Arvo Part as well as experimental artists like Glenn Branca and Rhys Chatham, and a peer to such outfits as Stars of the Lid and Fennesz, he started off with massed guitar tracks, moved to electronic washes and ambient fields and now has moved onto using more organic textures on ‘Copia’, with its tone redolent of brass, strings, woodwind and percussion. ‘Copia’ is an awesome feat, a colossal work of subtle moods and majestic peaks. Cooper is quick off the mark to demonstrate his finely honed skills as a sculptor of musical moods by overlaying the downbeat tones of opener ‘Amreik’ with uplifting brass that eventually pulls the entire piece out of twilight and into morning. ‘Indoor Swimming at The Space Station’ sounds like just what you’d want to hear doing a few laps in zero gravity, its grace and sombre profundity contains echoes of Henryk Gorecki’s Third Symphony. ‘Seeing You Off The Edges’ offers a series of ambient washes that would sit well beside tracks by Aarktica while piano takes centre stage on ‘Prelude for Time Feelers’, abetted by some doleful brass – it sounds like a partner to two other piano-driven works, the first of which is ‘Radio Ballet’; as befits its title it’s a sprightlier work. The 11-song album is split by a brief intermission featuring what sounds like bird chirps (or perhaps mechanical squeaks) and the slow rumbling clicks of something rolling down a rail line. That passes into the delicate strings of ‘Before Nature’ then onto the third piano piece, ‘Reciting the Airships’, which drives a repeated figure alongside the rise and fall of strings. The stately and sepulchral ‘Ostinato’ floats by on long-held organ and brass notes, rising skyward ever so slowly, just barely achieving liftoff before the distant, echoing keys of the short-lived ‘Hymn No. 1’ start to echo over a faint blizzard of white noise. Closer ‘Repose in Blue’ stretches out a four-note figure in brass and strings, rising up before sliding back down in a graceful melt. ‘Copia' isn’t just a front-runner for best instrumental album of the year (one with some fierce competition from the aforementioned Stars of the Lid and Grails). It’s one of the year’s best in any genre.

Track Listing:-
1 Amreik
2 Indoor Swimming At The Space Station
3 Seeing You Off The Edges
4 Prelude For Time Feelers
5 Requiem On Frankfort Ave
6 Radio Ballet
7 (Intermission)
8 After Nature
9 Reciting The Airships
10 Ostinato
11 Hymn #1
12 Repose In Blue

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Epic and hopeful-sounding post-rock on magnifecently-packaged double album from Eluvium, the project of Portland, Oregon-based musician Matthew Cooper
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