Over the past three years, Eluvium (aka: Matthew Cooper) has created some of the most impressive and gorgeous ambient music of the decade. His first full length, Lambent Material, is an epic masterpiece of both warm and chilly soundscapes containing my all time favorite ambient piece, the 15 minute "Zerthis Was a Shivering Human Image." Though Lambent Material would prove to be the backdrop of what the majority of his work would come to sound like, in 2004 he follwed the album with a short collection of piano pieces titled An Accidental Memory in the Case of Death; all of which are stunning. Shortly after, in 2005, he released two more stunning ambient pieces. With this short but accomplished recent offering, Cooper has effectively pieced together a small collage of work that seems to summarize him as an artist and, hopefully, one that hints towards a similar piece of work on his upcoming 2007 full length.
More than anything, Cooper manages to evoke feelings and images through these brief tracks, much like he did on every previous release. Ranging from warm and uplifting to flat out somber and depressing, these songs are best suited for a quiet and uneventful setting. Starting the album with "I Will Not Forget That I Have Forgotten", Cooper manages to combine the best of his ambient touches with a soft piano melody that wouldn't have been out of place on An Accidental Memory.... This track is a perfect example of Cooper's ability to evoke such an amazing and somber feeling within the listener. Following suit, the next track is no less impressive, and is of note for a clip of Tom Hanks from The Burbs, a little-known late 80's comedy. Though the screaming of Hanks is no doubt placed within a comedic setting, the chilly ambience that Cooper places beneath it evokes an oddly depressive feeling, as if the line were taken from a tragedy.
Slightly shifting gears in terms of ambient tone, the perfectly titled "All the Sails" showcases a gentle and warm melody which, as expected, conveys a night on the ocean, under endless clear skies. The imagery is no less abundant on the last (though least impressive) title track. It's more than 7 minute running time is comprised of the same repetitive melody, with a subtle ring and click throughout. Without suprise, and again in correlation with it's title, the song calls forth a quiet morning along an unknown sea.
Though for the most part effective, this brief offering of material doesn't hold up to his other works in terms of repeat value. With Lambent Material, I see a cohesive collection of material I can revisit without end. The same can be said for his work on An Accidental Memory. I suppose this may have to do with the album's 22 minute running time, as it feels somehow incomplete and far less epic or involving as his previous works. Admittedly, however, this is just an EP and should be taken for what it is: A satisfying offering from one of the very best artists in the genre.