Shuffle Drones by EluviumRelease date: November 10, 2017
Label: Temporary Residence
So Mathew Cooper, to all ambient music lovers (as well as others) known as Eluvium, is at it again! For over almost 15 years and eight albums, he has proven himself as an intricate craftsman of ambient music that does and does not include electronics or ’standard’ instruments, does and does not include vocals and usually touches on almost any musical genre, but most often that could be called neo-classical.
With Shuffle Drones, his new album, if you could call it that, he goes a step further. Eluvium adapts his new work to the Spotify generation or any shuffle-play medium for that matter. Basically, he goes for the blend of the medium and the message.
The trick, so to say is very simple – Cooper laid down 23 tracks, each lasting exactly 32 seconds, except one (lasting 43 seconds), of which each presents a string section coda, that has just a few slight variations. The intention is to create a seamless composition that can last from its basic 12 minutes and 48 seconds or 1248 minutes or any number of seconds in any order, shuffle play.
What William Basinski did with his electronic variations and degrading tapes, usually in one go, Eluvium takes another step further giving his work an infinite number of variations, turning it into a true musical kaleidoscope.
Fortunately, for Cooper, and even more so to curious or any other listener, the damn thing really works! The key reason for that lies in the fact that Eluvium gave the intricate process involved in such an exercise a true ingredient – carefully constructed musical sequences that can come one before or after each other, without disrupting the continuous flow of music and at the same time enabling any potential piece that the listener creates himself to sound as a coherent piece on its own. I presume it probably took him much longer to create these almost 13 minutes of sound that it usually does to create a ‘regular’ album. But these 13 minutes can at any time turn int 13 or 130 albums and never really sound the same. Beautiful!