35 years ago Brian Eno wrote the famous rule that ambient music must be “as ignorable as it is interesting” on the back of his massively influential Ambient 1: Music For Airports — of course by the last track of that album the statement felt a lot more tongue in cheek; how could anyone ignore something as majestic as this? I bring that up because Matthew Cooper, aka Eluvium, has always had a similar knack for making music. The best songs by Eluvium are certainly ambient, but with a heartbreaking emotional core that pulls you in whether you’re paying attention or not.
On the wondrous final track from the upcoming Nightmare Ending, Cooper brought in Ira Kaplan (who put out some particularly lovely music earlier this year with Yo La Tengo) to close out the double album. Cooper’s experimented with vocals before, but it’s never come through as brilliantly as it does here, with Kaplan’s fragile vocals held up by the cloudlike production. At this point — with the previous songs “Don’t Get Any Closer,” “Entrendre,” and “Envenom Mettle” — we’ve heard nearly 25 minutes worth of Eluvium’s massive new album, and that’s still just a small portion, but now with this new one it’s shaping up to be one of the most beautiful records we’ve heard this year. Listen.
Nightmare Ending is out 5/14 on Temporary Residence