After three years without a release from Eluvium, Mathew Cooper returns to us with False Readings On. Cooper has been keeping busy, collaborating with EITS’ Mark T. Smith under the name Inventions, investing his time into composing for other projects, but that didn’t hinder his ability to produce yet another amazing addition to his armada of accomplishments through Eluvium.
False Readings On is a powerful ambient album that swiftly and serenely puts the listener into a hypnagogic state, pulling them in and out of consciousness, and dissipating their cognizance across the cosmos. Cooper has become an architect of ambience, using all of his tools and materials gathered over the years to build yet another wonderful house of sounds for your head.
Cooper swoons the listener with the opening of the album, “Strangeworks,” with its lesser than intimidating tones, angelic and drony delay, soft strings, and beautiful operatic vocals. The opening of the next track, “Fugue State” slowly lifts you out of your body and into Cooper’s cosmic dance, all is well, and the two first tracks appear to be uplifting. Then something happens, he breaks with, “Drowning Tone,” which resembles something like the sounds of foghorns as you start to drift under water. From that point to the end of the album, contemplation ensues, and all of those emotions you forgot you had, and maybe some you were never aware you could have, start funneling in.
In “Regenerative Being,” those beautiful operatic voices come back in, but they’ve changed, Cooper tweaked them, giving them this numinous quality, further sending your consciousness into peril. Carrying on through the static field, the remaining tracks continue this ebb and flow of luminous to tenebrous sounds. By the time “Beyond The Moon For Someone In Reverse” begins, there is no turning back; Cooper has trapped you in his chamber of tape hiss and white noise, and tied you up with cables from the modular synths. But its okay, in this track the light kind of shines through, the vocals come back, and he has stripped them of their soul piercing numinous quality, setting you free, but you choose to ride it out till the end. “Individuation” sheds the weight of the constant static that’s been encompassing the album for about forty-five minutes, and brings the listener back to that clean piano and balanced song structure Cooper mastered in his earlier works.
If somehow the album hasn’t served its purpose up until this point, it ends with “Posturing Through Metaphysical Collapse,” a whopping seventeen-minute piece that really pulls everything together. It begins clean with drone-like tones, and then the layers start to pile on, causing a very subtle discord. The second half of the song is nearly swallowed by noise, and a small and personal group of strings is conducted in. It is as if Cooper intended the last track to be a device that allows you to go back and watch yourself go through everything that you just did in the past hour of False Readings On.
This album as a whole piece sounds as if the source of sentience is speaking out and saying, “My god! What are you doing?” Eluvium might not be for everyone, and I wouldn’t suggest playing this album to lighten up the mood, but like most of Cooper’s collection, it can be for anyone if the setting is right.
So, go ahead, try this one with your eyes closed, and let the modular frequencies extract your essence and place you in self-examination.