The latest album by ambient-musician Matthew Cooper, working under the moniker of Eluvium, offers a double-album, featuring 7 tracks on each disc. ‘Nightmare Ending’ can be seen as the companion piece to Eluvium’s 2007 release ‘Copia’, which is arguably one of the finest records to have come out of the ambient genre. His latest album departs somewhat from his 2010 release of ‘Similies’, which to an extent divided fans with its inclusion of vocals and gentle percussion. ‘Nightmare Ending’ sees Cooper return to the instrumental style of ‘Copia’, and features his trademark style of ambient drones accompanied by gentle piano melodies. The result on ‘Nightmare Ending’ is some of his finest sounding work, if also some of his most challenging.
‘Nightmare Ending’ features much of Cooper’s trademark style, making it another wonderful record in his already wonderful discography. The album opens up with the incredibly gorgeous and beautiful ‘Don’t Get Any Closer’ which was released as the first taster for the album. The track though is barely a taster of how the whole album will sound, as it contains many of Cooper’s unexpected surprises that help make up his albums. There are plenty amounts of ambient drones that run on for minutes on end, oscillating up and down at a glacier pace. It is music akin to the style of Brian Eno, but Cooper has managed to refine the ambient genre to suit his own needs and has created a sound that is quintessentially his own. On ‘Nightmare Ending’ much of what we’ve come to expect from Cooper is present on the album, whilst some other tracks that seem to broaden his creativeness within the genre. It is arguably one of his finest records to date, containing some of his finest sounding tracks of all time. There’s an incredible amount of emotion in the tracks, which for the most part feels incredibly relaxing, though just a little bit harrowing. There’s a dark element hidden amongst the gentle layers Cooper builds up with his music, which makes ‘Nightmare Ending’ just that little bit challenging to listen to. It is though, every bit as enjoyable to listen to as anything else he has released so far.
There is a lot that can be enjoyed on ‘Nightmare Ending’ and it is certain to please fans of Eluvium, and perhaps fans of the ambient genre. ‘Nightmare Ending’ though might divide some fans though, especially those who were really drawn in by the style presented on ‘Similies’. The use of vocals and gentle percussion displayed a beautifully sensitive side to Cooper’s music, whose vocals in particular were every bit as gentle and unobtrusive as the genre they were a part of. It is perhaps a little bit of a shame that Cooper has decided to return to his older style of strictly instrumental tracks (except for the album’s closing track Happiness, which features vocals, but not Cooper’s). Considering though, the creativeness that has gone into the crafting of this album, it seems any choice Cooper makes in regards to his musical direction is generally a good one, and all he really needs to continue doing is just be himself and make music that he himself is proud of. In regards to ‘Nightmare Ending’, he should definitely be proud of himself.
‘Nightmare Ending’ is essentially everything I could have expected it to be. There is a wonderful style to Eluvium’s music, and ‘Nightmare Ending’ acts as another brilliant chapter in what Eluvium has to offer. The album helps to explain why Eluvium is one of my favourite musicians in the ambient genre, as he has a style that just draws the listener in, and showers them in a wonderful array of different emotions. It is beautiful music that is a little bit broader than just simple ambient drones. It may not be my favourite Eluvium record, but it is worthy of being one of his best records so far.
- ★★★★☆ 4/5
- Don’t Get Any Closer
- Envenom Mettle
- Rain Gently
- Covered In Writing
Eluvium’s 7th studio album ‘Nightmare Ending’ is set to release on 14th May 2013.