Review Summary: You'll never think of static and white noise the same way again...
Have you ever sat down and listened to the static or white noise on your television? I mean, really took in it's essence and beauty? Well apparently Eluvium has, because Oregon native Matthew Cooper has created an entire EP paying tribute to said noises. An "homage to static and white noise" reads the description, and it truly fits the EP well. It is a neat concept, that is executed surprisingly well, as there is quite a bit more here than static.
It's actually difficult to peg what "Static Nocturne" really is. At fifty minutes, the EP is composed of only one song, the title track. Needless to say, "Static Nocturne" is huge, and at times, rather oppressive. Yet the song isn't overwhelming, not in the least, but rather incredibly relaxing. After all, Eluvium has always had a soft spot for ambiance, and this track is without a doubt his most ambient. It's rather slow, which helps bolster the atmosphere and feeling of the song. And slow is not to be taken as meandering, but instead, a purposeful pace at which the song moves towards its goal. That is because everything that "Static Nocturne" is, plays right into the atmosphere, which is far and away its greatest asset. At times, "Static Nocturne" can be gorgeous, uplifting, and absolutely stunning. For being so incredibly minimalistic, Eluvium really does an outstanding job at creating such a dense, yet airy feeling. The product is one of the most soothing recordings in years, as the static that inundates the song sounds as if it comes from the ocean rather than a television. Beautiful and calm, but quite simplistic, as there really isn't much to "Static Nocturne."
The introduction starts off with some very glitchy sounds, which quickly leads into very subtle and subdued static. After that, and very pleasant organ enters in, which leads the way for Eluvium's well known piano work. While very subtle, the piano adds mounds of emotion to the entirety. This a leads into a bit harsher section, as the static is much more grainy, and the organ and piano have disappeared. Signaling the half-way point, it's sort of weighs everything down in the middle. The coarse static seems to lessen, and the organic atmosphere returns, drifting the song into its conclusion.
While it is true that the atmosphere is what really is so immersible about the song, it does little in the way of capturing intrigue. It goes without saying, the EP will be a tough sell to most. With such a broad and minimalistic track, "Static Nocturne" will be passed off by many as boring or pretentious, and in some respects those ideas are well founded. At fifty minutes in length, the song does not feature many stylistic transitions or changes in mood. And while the length is really quite a feat, I feel as if the product as a whole would have benefited from a few separations. After all, such a large song is asking quite a bit from the listener, and a track separation would have done away with this conundrum. This is really the EP's greatest failing. While at times being wholly immersible, "Static Nocturne" is the definition of inaccessible.
It's off putting to say the least, a song with such girth should elicit those kinds of reactions. However, despite it's failings and inaccessibility, "Static Nocturne" still manages to impress. The "homage to static and white noise" concept is done exceptionally well here, and Eluvium should truly be praised for pulling off something so ambitious.