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By Simon Vansintjan
Eluvium’s newest album - Similes - is absolutely striking. I’ve been a fan of Matthew Cooper’s work for a while now, it’s ambient music that I can relate with. I can identify his songs while generally other artists just blend into one happy humming noise that I can blissfully ignore while I study away. Copia, for example, is filled with tracks that I can put on to listen to for themselves while also enjoying it and studying.
Similes is different in a way that I’m a little bit upset about. The songs on this album are almost poppy. Cooper sings - that was probably the most shocking development. I’m not sad in a way that I think the songs aren’t as good as usual, I’m sad to find that I won’t be able to happily add an album to my study-music collection. The album is still largely ambient, and still melancholy and emotionally quite intense. I couldn’t categorise it as anything else, and maybe it shouldn’t be. It’s a series of lullabies that will let your mind drift off steered occasionally by phrases of what could probably be considered deep thoughts.
The first song sets the mood for the rest of the album - one of thought and analysis. The lyrics fit snugly into the music and seem to be a mix of pensive and playful “writing to myself and later questioning the source..”, murmured musings that escape from the music. It almost feels like Cooper is giving more meaning to his songs, while not stepping away from the ambient soundscapes I have come to expect from his work.
The Motion Makes Me Last is definitely the standout song on the album - and the one that has been sent to people as an advance listen. It’s absolutely gorgeous, and might be the song to make someone listen to if you want to convince them that this man is onto something. Cooper almost whispers the words, but there is melody here and a chorus.
In no way does Similes slow down after this, The Motion Makes Me Last may be my personal favourite, but each song is individually good. The album maintains the new direction Cooper seems to have chosen, painting vivid images that might not necessarily mean anything.
Cease To Know - the album’s 11 minute closer is an absolutely beautiful song. Listen to this entire album with headphones, but do it for this song. A voice drifts in and out of the song with a melancholy murmur that slowly fades into one of the best left-to-right sounds I have heard on a stereo song. As I’m writing this I’m listening to it, and each time it passes it tugs at me.
This may be the right album for people to start listening to this one man experiment.