erasing clouds

100 Musicians Answer the Same 10 Questions

Part Ten: Eluvium

instigated by dave heaton

As Eluvium, Matthew Cooper has made some of the most transporting, transcendent music of recent years. His debut album Lambent Material and third album Talk Amongst the Trees were both stirring ambient instrumental works that are infinitely fascinating and hauntingly beautiful. In between he released an album of solo piano titled An Accidental Memory in Case of Death, to which all of those adjectives still apply. All three were released by the label Temporary Residence Ltd.; samples of the music can be heard on the label website and Eluvium's own website. To my ears he's making some of the most involving, unique, and emotionally affecting music around.


What aspect of making music excites you the most right now?


What aspect of making music gets you the most discouraged?

Lack of equipment (maybe?). To be honest, not much is discouraging to me, at least at this moment in time.

What are you up to right now, music-wise? (Current or upcoming recordings, tours, extravaganzas, experiments, top-secret projects, etc).

I am awaiting the release of a new EP on Temporary Residence, due in August (the 22nd?). And I have also been working on a full length--the EP is a sort of "closer" on my earlier works' style and feel--and the new writing is hopefully going to keep me occupied for a while, and should definitely see some new directions, compositionally and emotionally. But I won't know until it's done.

What's the most unusual place you've ever played a show or made a recording? How did the qualities of that place affect the show/recording?

I once made a recording with Eric Macey (he played on the Travels.. disc) of a really out-of-this-world situation. It took place off the coast of Washington while a very thick fog rolled over the entire area. You could barely see 10 feet ahead of you--and could hear the fog horns of passenger ships talking to each other, the lapping of water, sometimes a bi-plane over head, trees creaking. We barely spoke a word for the whole trip--later we mixed various source recordings with each other and some soft tones. It really captures the essence of being there. I think we just recently uncovered the 8 mm footage we took, so that should go nicely all together

In what ways does the place where you live (or places where you have lived), affect the music you create, or your taste in music?

I'm not sure if it does. I have a great love of nature, even in its most abundant forms, and find a lot of inspiration from looking at it, and interacting within it. I suppose being in the Cascades is a part of that, but I couldn't say for sure, as I have yet to compose elsewhere.

When was the last time you wrote a song? What can you tell us about it?

a.) yesterday. b.) mm.... I used instruments to play notes and chords.

As you create more music, do you find yourself getting more or less interested in seeking out and listening to new music made by other people...and why do you think that is?

Neither. my interest in music rises and falls like everything else.

Lately what musical periods or styles do you find yourself most drawn to as a listener? (Old or new music? Music like yours or different from yours?)

Both, all. I'm particularly interested in classical recently -- especially organ works--but I like to keep in rotation/seek out a good mixture of new and old. e.g. The Books, G.I. Gurdjieff, Thelonious Monk, The Paragons, Amiina, Cut Copy… The new Camera Obscura is nice, too - I haven't heard them before this one...

Name a band or musician, past or present, who you flat-out LOVE and think more people should be listening to. What's one of your all-time favorite recordings by this band/musician?

Here's five: Max Richter (Memoryhouse), Arthur Russell (World of Echo), Rachel's (Systems/Layers), Hilmar Orn Hilmarsson (children of nature), Colleen (The Golden Morning Breaks).

What's the saddest song you've ever heard?

I really couldn't say for sure, but I bet it's on Memoryhouse by Max Richter. I get sadness and happiness and beauty all confused - right now I'm sort of excited, which one is that?

To check out the rest of the Q&As, click here.

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