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Apologies for the lack of posts for last week – been pretty busy.

This is Eluvium’s Leaves Eclipse the Light which was released as a limited (to 2,000) edition EP on Temporary Residence Limited. Eluvium, actual name Matthew Cooper, saw his first full length released in mid 2003 which he called Lambent Material. The five track, 35 minute record would serve to give the artist a name amongst ambient music fans, only solidified by his second and third forthcoming works entitled An Accidental Memory in Case of Death in ’04 as well as Talk Amongst the Trees the following year.

Many parallels could be made between Amongst the Trees and Lambent. The latter is an incredible and decidedly warm composition of piano work juxtaposed with an array of field recordings and other instrumentation. Its centerpiece track, Zerthis, captures your attention through the use of warped distortion provided by guitars – finally letting you off into a bottomless abyss of beautifully moving piano work with the fifth and album concluding track entitled “I Am So Much More Me That You Are Perfectly You.”

What’s amazing to me is that Lambent Material served as only the beginning of a musically fruitful adventure in ambient music from a then unknown artist out of Kentucky (since moving to Portland, Oregon). Lambent is simply the origin of a healthy sized line of music from Eluvium and through this, you’re able to hear influences from similarly musically like-minded musicians, namely Brian Eno.

His second full length An Accidental Memory in 2004 switched tracks a little bit veering into more piano territory. Although ambient music in the most traditional sense made subtle (if not minor) appearances, the piano served as the primary driver of the album mostly containing an array of subdued sounds from that instrument. Not necessarily sad, but the record was mostly contemplative, I think, and I feel like it helped Eluvium musically into what he could accomplish as a composer as well as a student of the piano. This instrument continues to remain as a mainstay of Matthew Cooper’s music.

Coming back into familiar grounds of ambient music with Talk Amongst the Trees in 2005, as an avid music listener, I’ve come to the conclusion that this record is one of Eluvium’s strongest, displaying a gorgeous knack for musically painting dark greys and blues on a dimmed canvas of sound. In Trees, it’s obvious that Eluvium’s become a respected name in modern ambient. Glacial walls of sound (most notably and gradually recognized in the work’s sixth track entitled “Taken”) penetrate the deepest corners of your ear drums letting go for a moment to only whitewash you with a range of dismal and pensively overcast-sounding pads that flesh out wonderfully over the course of the nearly hour long record. It’s quite an impressive work that continues to stand up to other heavyweight albums in the genre.

However, I’d say that many people know Eluvium best by a piece of work called Copia. Chronologically, this is his sixth album and was released in ’07 (again on Temporary Residence out of New York). Copia made significant and far reaching waves with fellow musicians and music lovers alike. This record contributed greatly to the success of Eluvium. From its very first track to the last, Copia is a world built entirely out of layers; and although we saw that quite a bit in An Accidental Memory in Case of Death a few years prior, this record is most definitely drenched in it.

The piano once again makes a strong appearance spanning the work, often acting as a catalyst for other musical elements to soar over its thoughtful melodies, particularly notable in Indoor Swimming at the Space Station, Prelude for Time Feelers, as well as Reciting the Airships later in the album. Indoor Swimming remains one of my favorite songs of any artist.

And again, built entirely with comprehensive layers. It begins with a few notes: subdued, eclipsed, shadowed. But then, pianos start rolling in – gentle at first, moving to a melody with a sense of elegance and purpose, and then you slowly recognize the warm pads being introduced and building layer upon layer of calm sound until the track’s conclusion. The entirety of Copia is more or less the same. At its end, you realize that there is a lot of “content” for an ambient record, and perhaps this is why that it has found so much success from the genre’s fans.

So, on to the actual material that I’m writing about. It’s called the Leaves Eclipse the Light and was released last September as an EP. It follows into a second part EP called The Motion Makes Me Last released in November last year and contains similar album artwork.

This EP in particular contains three tracks along with a video of the same name (which is also the same track on the early 2011 record Similes) and was limited to 2,000 copies. It includes a remix of this track by Four Tet, juggling the sounds of the original song and injecting other elements into it, making for an interesting and cool sounding second take on it.

These two releases together are a breath of fresh air after the mixed music community response to Similes released in late February of this year. It more or less contained many of the musical elements as heard in Eluvium’s previous works however it introduced something that long standing fans of the artist were not expecting: the introduction of Matthew Cooper’s vocals.

I can’t say for sure which side of the fence I’m on. I don’t mind vocals in this kind of music and I certainly don’t mind artists exploring new methods and techniques and what not to cultivate and learn new things from. However, I suppose that this is all up to the individual listener to figure out for themselves. Eluvium has a history of less than ten years – who knows what new and exciting music this lovely composer and artist will have in store for modern ambient music in the future?

Listen with a good set of headphones! Enjoy.

To learn more about the artist, please visit the following resources:

Last.fm

Discogs

Temporary Residence Limited

To purchase Eluvium releases, check out:

Amazon

Temporary Residence Limited

Download.

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