Eluvium Copia(Temporary Residence Ltd) Buy it from Insound
Someone once said, "judge not, lest ye be judged", or something along those lines. Therefore, I must resist the intense burning in my stomach to lash out at specific quotes from the critics whose summarized blurbs are compiled on the metacritic.com page for Eluvium's new album, and a whole host of others while we are at it. That will be a topic for a different article. Here, I must stick to telling you about Copia, an album of synthesizer washes and repetitive melodic fragments.
Most of you have heard all this before; Sigur Ros perfected the technique on Agaeitis Byrjun way back in 1999. I love that album for its gorgeous melodicism, stirring dynamics and yearning vocals, but I think we need to put all this into perspective. As it was proven in Vanilla Sky and to a greater extent The Life Aquatic, Ros' music is ideally suited for film. Quite often, this music needs the kind of context supplied by beautiful images. On its own, it is laid bare, and must stand alone. Which brings me to the problem I have with Copia.
Look, I'm just going to lay it on the line; any respectable critic of any art form must not lavish excessive praise on any work suitable for exhibition in your dentist's waiting room. Great art must provoke or inspire you, and I'm sorry to all the folks out there "awash" in Eluvium's dreamy "soundscapes" of pure "emotion" and "beauty", but this record does neither. Oh sure, it's pretty, in a completely clichÃ©d and meaningless way, like a spring day or an infant's laughter or whatever Hallmark bullshit passes for sincere sentiment these days. But it's also bloody monotonous. It strikes one note, or mood, or you can even call it an emotion if it makes you feel better, and then it drives it relentlessly into the ground, without wavering for even a second. Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music did the same thing. Is that a masterpiece now too, instead of the rotting heap of garbage he intended it to be? At least he had a sense of humor.
Prelude for Time Feelers is slightly harmonically interesting. After Nature hints at something more. That's all I have to say about the individual songs, which pretty much run together....organically. There, I said it. Happy now? Yes, it's organic, like cells replicating in a test tube and about as interesting to watch. My favorite part is the 50 second (Intermission). Ha! That's hilarious. All these songs running together in a never ending stream and they have to throw an intermission in there, ya know, for a break. Maybe there is a sense of humor at work here after all.
One more thing. Someone actually compared this album to Gorecki's Symphony of Sorrowful Songs. I simply couldn't let that one pass. If you're listening carefully, Gorecki will make you hear the sounds of the dead wailing from the grave. What will Copia do? Wait, I hear something..."Hello Mr. Shulman, has your copay changed since your last visit?"15 May, 2007 - 18:09 — Alan Shulman