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Lambent Material

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Album Review

The comparisons are almost endless and inevitable: rougher in texture than Sigur Rós but smoother than Fennesz or My Bloody Valentine, more coarse than Brian Eno's Ambient series but not as daunting as Aphex Twin's Selected Ambient Works, Vol. 2, etc. However, what sets Lambent Material apart from most of the inevitable conveniences of comparison is that the debut release by Eluvium (aka Matthew Cooper) is really worthy of such high praise. Taking bits and pieces of each of the aforementioned artists and filtering them through his own creativity, Eluvium visits familiar elements of ambient music; the drones, washes, and layers are all there and in full force, with no filler or wasted space. Every note is meaningful and relevant, no matter how many times looped or manipulated. Shimmering arrangements and fluid transitions recall the age of sonic innovation, when Shields was king, Rachel Goswell was queen, and your shoes and cardigan were all you saw at concerts until the music ceased. And just when the album hits its musical peak with "Zerthis Was a Shivering Human Image," Cooper reprises the beauty of the earlier tracks to send the album to a soft, haunting completion. In a genre where oversimplification is equated with laziness, this is a carefully thought-out treasure chest of sonic joy. It easily could have been sent from the past to remind the future of what riches still lie in store if ambient music is executed with a little innovation. And this definitely delivers the goods.


Born: Tennessee

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Portland, Oregon resident Matthew Cooper records ambient music under the alias Eluvium. With effects-heavy guitar drones that would feel equally at home on an album by Brian Eno or Fennesz, his recordings obtained a passionate following among fans of post-rock and experimental indie. Over time, his sound grew and branched out, incorporating strings, vocals, pianos, and more overt classical influences. His debut release, Lambent Material, was released on the Temporary Residence imprint in 2003. The...
Full Bio

Top Albums and Songs by Eluvium

Lambent Material, Eluvium
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