‘False Readings On’: A Review
Matthew Cooper, the ambient composer performing under the appellation Eluvium, has long provided the best sonic approximation of the ineffable; lyrical imaginings on the grand movements of the eternal.
Eluvium is, in a sense, the soundtrack to the universe.
From album to album, he zooms in and out on every graduated line through which the infinitely big and small are measured.
At times, the listener is taken to a supergalactic view of space-time before scaling down to Talk Amongst the Trees in Dawkinian Middle Earth. Then (s)he is left adrift in the deepest recesses of the infinitely divisible.
There is a song for every iteration of the fractal forever.
False Readings On, synesthetically speaking, was born in the gears of a monochromatic metal machine periodically punctuated by solar flares.
It is an album seemingly being transmitted from deep space.
‘Strange Works’ starts off like a space opera being broadcast over Solaris. Hear the organ play, the scantly audible trill in the background, the building wave, the piercing pitch of a moog violin.
Then comes a frolicking loop seemingly on a marimba repeat; a modal approach underpinning spectral soprano wails. ‘Fugue State’ and an unplanned plunge through the depths.
The ambling amnesiac is dragged down by ‘Drowning Tone’ into deep space decompression; all darkness except for a single red beacon blinking-fading-blinking. The cold metal box drifts on and on…
After the break, ’Regenerative Being’’ provides a subdued, slow-building swell that reaches denouement while skipping the climax. Single piano notes trace the melody. Space soprano specter engages them in call and response.
Then comes ‘Washer Logistics’ — an action plan for transcendence.
It’s the aural overlay to the cinematic bildungsroman; the protagonist gripped by revelation living out a montage before that grand resolution that rarely plays out in lives that are anonymously lived rather than fictively portrayed. And then, like that, the rise fades to fall.
The following track, ‘Movie Night Revisited’, almost feels like a bridge built to link a bridge. Benedictine chants aim for an earth’s eye view of the heavens. A synthesizer beams you up to space to ponder the darkness beyond.
‘Beyond the Moon for Someone in Reverse’ hums with static from the big bang. Then the heavenly voices come calling. Let there be light…There is light.
The title track takes you back to the single red beacon blinking-fading-blinking in deep space. Something is not right.
‘Rorscach Paven’ — what do your interpretations of his recreation of the lord of winds’s expired spirit say about you — the listener falls into a meta-aware trap. The loop, the static crackle, the burst and bloom of release. The wall of sound rises and falls, tracing the peaks and valleys of an EKG. But it’s all just simulacrum.
‘Individuation’ takes you back to Copia, the warmth of unfiltered piano keys come as a sharp contrast to the preceding metallic tempest. It is the penultimate track punching a hole in the seemingly impermeable wall of spacial feedback and spirit echoes.
‘Posturing Through Metaphysical Collapse’ is that. You feel the desperation, the desire to somehow pull meaning from the dance, to separate signal from noise, to make your hopes and dreams something more than something thrown on your own funeral pyre burning brightly in the distance you can’t halt from rushing. Posturing, being human, trying to matter, trying to live beyond the beat.
Meaning is a false positive. Nietzsche flattened time and reduced your life to a residual hunting. You yourself were all along that static crackle on an infinite feedback loop, seeing yourself rise like a wave before falling back into the sea.
But then time is not a flattened circle; there is no infinite return. You try to pull yourself up to take one last glimpse before you dissipate. For a moment you feel like this was forever. False Reading On…