By Jordan Fritz
Ambience is normally thought of as background noise. Some sort of distant sound, the changes almost too subtle to notice, acting as repetition as a form of change. Time passes at such a rate that each moment seems as if the one prior may well have not occurred, and to recreate a moment is to create a new moment.
Matthew Cooper, under the guise of Eluvium, makes slow and subtle music. Things don’t move fast. They don’t need to. Trying to recreate moment after moment to craft a song, Eluvium entrances or consumes. With a catalogue of mostly minimalist soundscapes and piano suites, Similies marks a substantial shift.
There’s vocals, a change from previous albums. Not just samples or voice loops put through a gambit of processing. Real singing. The songs are still mostly wandering through a mist, but percussive, recognizable beats are there. You can almost tap along. Cooper doesn’t even throw in a song of solid static and feedback. None of these features seriously detract from the value of this contemplative album.
Almost all tracks, such as the second, “The Motion Makes Me Last,” feature electronic drum beats accompanying piano, vocals and swells of keyboard goodness. Closer “Cease to Know” is a return to the ambient drone of albums past.
Actually, the rest of the album may have been slightly better were the vocals cut and the speed reduced to 50 per cent. Vocals are fine, just in their place, and still pleasurable in a new, weird way. Sit down, drink some tea, put this record on and think about something. Or just think about the music.