Hiking Jams ’14
Today’s instrumental and ambient music scene is comprised of people you probably would never see in boxing documentaries, football-themed dramas, trailers for horror films or car commercials, but you’d most likely hear them. They get around. Two names remain a constant driving force in the world of ambient and post-rock: Explosions in the Sky and Eluvium. Luckily for us, we’re treated to a superduo of some sort. Mark Smith of Explosions in the Sky teamed up with Matthew Cooper (Eluvium), calling themselves Inventions. Their self-titled album should be the soundtrack to everything and anything this spring.
“Echo Tropism” starts the album with Explosions’ brand of delayed guitars and Eluvium’s minimalistic style of electronic ambiance. You can already tell who’s doing what, but it all comes together sounding just as sickeningly pretty and tear-inducing as Smith and Cooper’s past releases. It’s beautiful to hear the post-rock world and ambient world combine, filling in each others gaps.
Seven-minute “Flood Poems” features light humming, underscoring the twinkly guitars and textural synths setting the mood just right for a quiet hike in the woods. It almost sounds like a Sigur Rós song. Visions of Iceland pop into your head as the relaxing repetition of each layer drones about. “Peaceable Child” has a little more going on in terms of electonic sampling. Combined with the Smith’s instrumentation, Cooper’s sparse piano-work is the perfect contemplative piece right up until the lo-fi drums kick in. Out of place at first, the drums begin to highlight all that’s going on around them, while crescendo-ing halfway with louder and more intense synths.
The light vocalization in the last track, “Psychic Automation,” sets sort of an M83 vibe, circa-Digital Shades Vol. 1. Much like the rest of this album, this song is pure immersion. Prepare to physically melt into your couch or bed as you let these sounds break you down into a million little pieces. Both artists are known not to dick around in their studios, so it’s no surprise their mastery of soundscapes, gradual chord progression and just overall manipulation of emotions is evident in Inventions. If you’re planning on being alone, in a place you don’t mind getting lost in, this is the perfect listening material until you’re found.