Review Summary: A combination of all Eluvium work to date, Copia is Matthew Cooper's best effort, mixing melody with ambience in a perfect blend.
Symphonic band music has been a part of my life for a very long time. Before Sputnik, before I began writing, before I really listened to music I enjoyed rather than standard radio fare, I was in a concert band. Yes, it was a middle school concert band, but it always played an important part of my life because I put so much time into it. As I have evolved as a musician and understanding music theory, symphonic band music becomes more and more interesting to me throughout the years. Now in high school, in what the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association selected as the only high school band in the state to perform at their annual festival, I find myself playing extremely challenging music with musical ideas brand new to me. I always enjoy the tone pieces, the ballads. The beauty that music composed of whole notes and half notes can produce is nothing short of breathtaking, especially when played right. The suspensions and releases, which occur on every measure, every beat, make everything so interesting and amazing. So it is no surprise that I love Eluvium’s latest effort, Copia. It takes all of his previous material, the ambient work of Talk Amongst the Trees and the classical piano work from An Accidental Memory in the Case of Death, and smashes it all together in a mesh of beauteous melodies and warm, fluffy chords.
Copia is Eluvium’s 4th full length album, coming just 6 months after his last EP, When I Live by the Garden and the Sea. The EP hinted at a new evolution in his sound, bringing more prominent melodies to his ambient work. Copia is the full realization of that sound. Talk Amongst the Trees presented beautiful, trance-inducing ambience, but Copia takes the same quality ambience and adds even more to it. Matthew Cooper, the man behind Eluvium, makes it even easier to call him the next Brian Eno. Although he has always resorted to textural synth sounds to create his soundscapes, Cooper incorporates some brass and other new voices into his music to make much more variation on the album. Copia is, altogether, Cooper’s greatest effort. The album sounds as though it took years and years of refinement, and it is truly remarkable that Cooper made this in only 6 months. Amreik
begins the album with something a bit more familiar, much more like the music from Talk Amongst the Trees. The new synth brass sound makes an appearance, adding new color to the music. Its tone color sticks out of the gooey texture of the underlying chords.
is simply an introduction to the rest of the album, and Indoor Swimming at the Space Station
truly begins the album on an epic note. It fades in like a redo of Taken
, one of Cooper’s greatest songs, but the tone color and style of the song ends up completely different. Instead of growing at a dragging tempo, Cooper puts an uptempo piano groove in the background to drive the song through its 10 minute stretch. Moreover, unlike his previous longer efforts, Cooper allows for melodies to take the forefront, the main melody here being a synthesized string voice. Cooper’s melodies are always simple but catchy and they fit the chords perfectly. The trance effect of his music is not lost in the song, but it is more enjoyable to listen to intently. Prelude for Time Feelers
inverts the formula for Indoor Swimming at the Space Station
. Instead, the piano takes the forefront, beginning on its own. Cooper’s circular melody piano style makes a return, repeating itself over and over. As the song progresses, the textural chords add in to provide support for the piano melody. Eventually, the melody meshes into the overall sound, but it is always audible and the most prominent voice. Prelude for Time Feelers
represents the most growth of any Eluvium song, as it grows to an immense wall of sound by its conclusion.
Throughout the rest of the album, Cooper presents more and more new voices as well as expanding on formulas presented earlier on the album. Reciting the Airships
makes another piano and ambient combination, with a more rhythmic feel out of the piano and the most beautiful chords on the album. Ostinato
is a masterful song full of brilliant organ chords. Like a funeral dirge, Ostianto
crawls along with the organ leading the way and cello entering color tones to the already interesting organ chords. Hymn #1
envisions a simple hymn played while sitting by a waterfall, while Radio Ballet
puts the listener at an upper class piano recital. Still, nothing can prepare the listener for the closing Repose in Blue
. Although musically just another textural drone beauty, Cooper creates a grand atmosphere for a closer. He orchestrates a fireworks show in the middle of the song. Literally. After listening to such a grand album, the fireworks enter and it is glorious, so fitting, and brilliant. Copia is a vast album full of different voices and styles, but still, it all belongs together. Musically, everything evolves from Eluvium’s previous work and it features a true album opener and closer. Copia is Cooper’s greatest work to date, but it leaves even more roads for him to take.
Indoor Swimming at the Space Station
Seeing You Off the Edges
Prelude for Time Feelers
Reciting the Airships