Oregon's Eluvium is the project of ambient composer Matthew Cooper.
He debuted with the droning suites of the mini-album
Lambent Materials (Temporary Residence, 2003).
The short guitar tracks rehash ideas that have been tested before by musicians
of the previous generation. There Wasn't Anything is a piano and horn sonata that has an amateurish charm.
However, the centerpiece is the 15-minute Zerthis Was a Shivering Human Image, a simple massive tsunami of guitar distortion.
Cooper, instead, used only the piano for the pensive seven-movement suite of
An Accidental Memory in Case of Death (2004).
He then returned to the guitar drones for Talk Amongst The Trees (Temporary Residence, 2005), whose centerpieces are
the crystal waves and flickering refractions of New Animals from the Air
and the gently wavering geometric 16-minute fantasia Taken,
reminiscent of Johann Pachelbel's Variations (although its crescendo is
far more insistent).
But the album also includes the galactic/gothic study Everything to Come,
and the gloomy/dense Calm of the Cast, that show different sides of the
The spiritual zenith, One, is a moving "om" to the universe via floating
nebulae of interlocking patterns.
Cooper does with the guitar what used to be done with electronic
keyboards. In fact, his instrumental pieces are more closely related to the
electronic poems of the past than to the ambient music of his contemporaries.
Chamber instruments (strings, horns, keyboards) replaced the shoegazing guitars
on Copia (Temporary Residence, 2007), that stands as his neoclassical
album and the crowning achievement of his progression towards counterpoint.
While generally employing minimalist repetition and grand orchestral gestures,
the twelve pieces cover a broad spectrum, both in terms of ambition
and style, from the piano ballad Radio Ballet to the
requiem-like Ostinato for solo organ, from intimations of
Pachelbel's adagio (Amreik) to
impressionistic vignettes (Seeing You Off The Edges),
from orchestral nebulae (the nine-minute Repose In Blue)
to Beethoven-esque piano sonatas (Prelude for Time Feelers).
The standout is the romantic build-up of the ten-minute Indoor Swimming.
Eluvium/ Jesu (Temporary Residence, 2007) was a split with Justin Broadrick's .
Life Through Bombardment is a career retrospective up to 2009.
Cooper reinvented himself as a singer-songwriter on
Similes (Temporary Residence, 2010), notably containing the lengthy
Cease to Know.
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