I almost hate to write about an album that’s not in the station, but I can’t describe to you how awesome the work of Eluvium (a.k.a. Matthew Robert Cooper) is. I rarely seek out ambient/droney music, mostly because it’s extremely easy to screw up (i.e. make it a snorefest), but Eluvium is an exception that makes me want to break that rule more often. Not only does he make beautiful music, he constantly tries to reinvent himself with each album. I can’t say much about his debut, Lambent Material, but Talk Amongst the Trees is probably the most standard “ambient” albums in his catalog, relying mostly on guitar drones and other atmospheric sounds to create a dense soundscape. An Accidental Memory in the Case of Death was a (far too short, in my opinion) collection of piano suites in the tradition of Erik Satie’s work (I didn’t make that connection until it was pointed out to me, because I’m the worst music major ever). When I Live by the Garden and the Sea combined these two ideas brilliantly, and this was fleshed out into more melodious, accessible pieces on Copia. On Similies (2010, Temporary Residence LTD.), his newest album, he’s added percussion and (brace yourself) vocals on some songs. Many are hailing this as a great “evolutionary” step for him, while others have given up on Eluvium because of it. If Mr. Cooper were a punk rocker, this would probably be “selling out.” Personally, I think the new instruments add a nice textural layer to his awesome compositions. Either way, expect the next album will sound nothing like this one, but I certainly hope it will continue to reflect Cooper’s brilliance.
These New Puritans – Hidden (Domino)
Past Lives – Tapestry of Webs (Suicide Squeeze)
Jaguar Love – Hologram Jams (Fat Possum)
Yeasayer – Odd Blood (Secertly Canadian)
You Say Party! We Say Die! – XXXX
Beach House – Teen Dream (Sub Pop)
and many more!