Review Summary: Curious things, indeed.
The man behind Eluvium
, Matthew Robert Cooper
, has been providing listeners with beautiful ambient soundtracks for about thirteen years now. When I first listened to his 2007 release Copia
, it was unlike anything I had ever heard before. The emotive and dreamy atmosphere is something I immediately fell in love with, and I quickly devoured his back catalog. As the years wore on, he continued to refine his combination of simple piano and larger-than-life ambient compositions. His prolific output has never equated to a dip in quality, nor has it stopped him from experimenting within the confines of ambient music (see Static Nocturne
for proof). Curious Things
is a compilation of rarities and unreleased material to accompany the "Life Through Bombardment Vol. 2" vinyl boxset, and it's not surprising that the compilation boasts some incredible tracks. However, it may be surprising to find that there is no fragmented quality to the continuity; this listens just like another focused Eluvium album.
The compilation does an excellent job of maintaining a singular contemplative mood while employing different elements in songs to make them distinctive. Whether it be the somber piano piece "Confessor" slowly progressing towards a beautiful ambient mess or the somewhat playful electronic meanderings in "Adolescent Space Adventures Outside the Supermarket", Cooper has proven time and again that he is the master of taking glacially-paced movements and injecting them with captivating beauty. The modulated heartbeat-like sound in "Airtapebreathingheart" is juxtaposed perfectly against the calming, yet cinematic background noise. There is more detail to Eluvium's music in Curious Things
than any of his other works, as proven by the brilliant "Defibrillator". The song makes further use of the simple piano by placing it in the background and giving it some reverb at the end of the track, making it one of the standouts. Behind Copia
, this the strongest showing thus far from Eluvium. Cooper is gaining more and more traction as he uses further influences to bolster his songwriting, and it's incredibly exciting given the fact that these happen to be his "throwaway tracks" from 2009 to 2015. Curious things, indeed.