Eluvium - Copia
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After mixing things up a bit on his first couple albums, Eluvium (aka Matthew Cooper) has settled into a steady string of ambient releases that have pulled together occasionally heavy washes of guitar with ambient passages that are heavy on texture but also move with some nice melodic passages. Copia basically continues the overall feel of his past releases, but with different instrumentation. Gone are the guitars, instead replaced with more of a focus on brass and strings, as well as the usual piano and keyboard.

"Amreik" opens the album strongly, as multiple layers of horns unfold slowly over one another, creating an aching piece that's absolutely gorgeous. "Indoor Swimming At The Space Station" follows, and completely stretches things out, opening with a long synth and piano passage that eventually has horns and more string synths piled on the top. It's a pretty track, but doesn't really develop much over the course of over ten minutes "Seeing You Off The Edges" is more successful, piling deep synth and filtered string swoons together into something that recalls the great work of Stars Of The Lid.

Copia stumbles a bit when Cooper veers away from the more organic instrumentation into sappier moments with swelling synths that sound a bit too close to new age to have much emotional weight. Both "Prelude For Time Feelers" and "Reciting The Airships" start out nice enough, with nice, ascending piano phrases that repeat and build upon themselves slightly, but each track is coated with gooey synth sounds that push them into super-safe, lite ambient realms that sound unfortunately similar to stuff being pedaled as "relaxation music" on end-cap displays of big box retailers.

The album ends fairly strongly, with the overlapping organ chords, horns, and remorseful strings of "Ostinato" and the lovely "Repose In Blue," which feels sort of like a sequel to the aforementioned synth and horn swells of "Seeing You Off The Edges," while adding some distant, booming field recordings that sound like a fireworks display breaking through the foggy soundscapes. Forcing himself to use different instrumentation for this newest release was certainly an admirable try, but the resulting music is definitely a bit more hit-or-miss than some of his past work.

rating: 710
Aaron Coleman 2007-03-01 20:23:35