Eluvium: Copia
Temporary Residence

Copia, Matthew Cooper's latest Eluvium release, moves away from the more conspicuously electronic style of last year's Talk Amongst the Trees and gravitates towards a more direct, neo-classical style and instrumental palette (strings, brass, piano, keyboards) that renders his music more accessible but no less appealing. A stately, almost devotional, feel pervades the material, a quality reinforced by song titles like “Hymn #1” and “Requiem on Frankfort Ave,” and it takes mere seconds for the album's poignant character to establish itself once funereal horns voice the stately themes of “Amreik.” The elegant “Indoor Swimming at the Space Station” lulls one into a hypnotic state for over ten minutes, and deep strings work similarly entrancing magic in the closing “Repose in Blue.” “Seeing You Off the Edges” exudes the same kind of mournful, string-drenched grandeur that Angelo Badalamenti conjured in Wild at Heart's “Dark Spanish Symphony,” while the piano-and-strings setting “Prelude for Time Feelers” and solo piano piece “Radio Ballet” suggest an obvious kinship between Cooper and Michael Nyman and Glassworks -era Philip Glass. Cooper possesses that rare gift for creating ravishing music that's deeply affecting on an emotional level without any compromise to its artistry. Copia is wholly remarkable and even, at times, sublime.

January 2007