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Album Review

Sophomore jinxes are far too common in the world of music, which is exactly why this follow-up is simultaneously surprising and sublime. Lambent Material, the debut LP by Matthew Cooper (aka Eluvium), existed cautiously on the lines of pure ambient and textural noise experiments. This time he's flipped the script around, offering meditations that are equally as sincere as those found on his debut, but a total 180-degree departure sonically. On this very carefully measured seven-song solo piano suite, he borders at times on Debussy and at other times on Satie. Through the cycle, he captures a very potent but moody feeling of loss and quietly tells these small stories with great honesty, free of pretense or unnecessary chord changes and exercises. Equally beautiful and accessible, this could likely be a disappointing follow-up for those expecting more of what Lambent Material had to offer. But if you listen patiently, you will be led to a conclusion that will leave you wanting more than its painfully short 26-minute running time has to offer.


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...
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