Eluvium @ Cafe Du Nord (5/2/2010)

Kevin Keating
Eluvium opened 'their' hour-long set last night at the Cafe Du Nord with a haunting 15-minute piece that took a page out of Angelo Badalamenti's playbook. The subtle textures quietly built into a piece that pulled you into a hunt for Laura Palmer's killer before blowing-out your eardrums as the music turned into noise that resembled a WWII air raid siren.

Luckily, before blood could trickle from our ears, the noise abruptly went silent. I wasn't sure if the volume and intensity of the sound was meant to startle the crowd and force us to pay attention. Or if the exercise was meant to deafen, and make the resulting compositions all the more complex.

Here's a short clip of Eluvium's quieter piano ballad:

Eluvium, aka Mathew Cooper, was joined by two other musicians who added layers and electronic bleeps to the subsequent soundscapes over the next 45 minutes as the crowd quietly took it all in. Cooper created (mostly) ambient, experimental, electronic music throughout the night and adeptly switched between keyboard and guitar as needed. Some of the most intriguing performance techniques involved a Nintendo Wii Wii-mote controller. The Wii-mote was shaken at certain times or moved in circular motions at others. Although I’m not exactly clear what was being controlled.

Cooper has been releasing Eluvium albums since 2003, and of which, I’ve been a big fan of Lambent Material (2003) and Talk Amongst the Trees (2005) – both of which are completely instrumental. Eluvium’s most recent release, Similes (2010), must have some vocal tracks included since Matthew actually sang throughout a few of the selections last night.

It was a treat to finally get to see Eluvium perform and be sure to take a listen to the video snipets I captured.

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