OH SWEET NOTHING
The opening lush orchestration of Eluvium’s latest release Copia might as well be the opening score of an epic feature film, as the repeating horn section slowly and deeply takes you into a land of green, murky fantasy. The director of this film is Mathew Cooper, and his use of strings, piano, keyboards, and brass instruments breathe somewhat new breath into the sloth-like movements of the field of ambient music.
As with the genre itself, the album is slow to get its feet moving, but Cooper steadily and gracefully adds different ingredients to the pot right before it becomes a bore, keeping the listener awake and alert, as though taking the beautiful nothingness of Eno’s ambient works and mixing it with the gradual intensity of Glassworks. This is music that weaves together, perfect for walking through a crowded street or riding a bicycle through the clouds just as the sun rises, on acid.
You can hear the howl of the wind at the end of the second track, “Indoor Swimming at the Space Station,” which gradually rolls into psychotic space moans that one might find aboard the spaceship in Solaris. “Prelude for Time Feelers” sounds as though it were written centuries ago by a famous pianist; a gorgeous repeating piano regression, nothing more, nothing less, that is sparsely reinforced by a gentle layer of strings that sound of a choir of heavenly saints oohing and aahing along to the greatest story ever told. Cue heavy pulsating brass, and the mood deepens, perfect for a tear-dropping onscreen scene. This is music that Hollywood directors should be scrambling to get the rights to, the perfect score for a tearjerker.
The only flaw with this album — and this brand of music — is that it generally sounds the same, but that is OK, as this is a great album to sit back and relax to; it’s a stress-reliever. Each track differs enough, though, such as “Ostinatio,” which is led by an organ that has a funereal reminiscence about it. It too is soon augmented by a string section that is slowly built upon by a deep brass and hints of a melodica. You have to keep an eye on your stereo to know when a track changes, because the album segues ever so gracefully, making the whole album an experience, not hot tracks.
It is amazing that an artist is willing to create an album of this nature in the 21st century, in the time of Jay-Z comebacks and Fall Out Boy owning the cover of both Spin and Rolling Stone. This is not an album created for the mainstream; it is for the seekers, the vinyl diggers, and the ones who know the musical secrets and reluctantly tell their friends.
The final track on this near hour album is “Repose in Blue,” a tune that climaxes with firework percussion, or perhaps it would fit will in that final battle scene in your screenplay. Whatever it is supposed to be, or where it is suppose to go, it is verdant, quiet, loud, exciting, chill, and — most importantly — the final chapter to one of the most beautiful albums made this year, which, as with its mainstream appeal, ends only as it quietly fades into nothingness.
Eluvium will be opening up for Explosions in the Sky on nearly every date on their upcoming tour, so get there early and prepare to space out.