Published Aug 31, 2016Oregon's prolific and reliable Eluvium (Matthew Cooper) returns with his eighth studio album, the gorgeous and haunting False Readings On. Released on Temporary Residence, the album further solidifies Cooper's reputation as a consummate architect of sound.
Beatless but not exactly ambient, music like this often gets placed in the soundtrack category, usually due to its affinity for sci-fi soundscapes. Cooper checks a lot of the boxes of this default style (doing it credit along the way), but also manages to transcend its limitations. This is most often felt through an approach to melody that is more straightforward and less elliptical than many of his colleagues, and with a refreshing lack of gimmicky '80s tropes.
Instead, Cooper builds melodies at a relaxed pace, deploying layers and flourishes expertly and earning the achingly beautiful crescendos he arrives at. Other tracks swing for the fences a bit less, but still satisfy with accessible melodies and subdued grandeur. Penultimate track "Individuation" is a prime example of this.
Cooper seems to have found just the right balance of electronic elements and traditional instrumentation for this album, as well. Piano, strings, horns and woodwinds make appearances, and always sound like they belong, lending a touch of class to the proceedings without sounding contrived. The only possible misstep is the 17-minute closer "Posturing Through Metaphysical Collapse," which is fine but doesn't exactly justify its length. It's a minor complaint, though — this is another strikingly beautiful work from Eluvium. (Temporary Residence)