Inventions — Inventions (2014)

Inventions — Inventions (April 1, 2014)

USA Flag Inventions — Inventions

≡••≡   Collaborative electronic act formed by Eluvium's Matthew Cooper and Explosions in the Sky's Mark T. Smith.
≡••≡   The immaculate construction of both is undeniable and the tracks bring with them a rush of feelings, but there’s no escaping that at their core they still touch on that small handful of sensations that usually circle back around to yearning and wonder. But that’s not a bad thing. There are times when you know exactly where you want to go and this is the music to take you there.
Location: Portland, Oregon
Album release: April 1, 2014
Record Label: Temporary Residence Limited.
Duration:     44:26
1 Echo Tropism     2:54 
2 Flood Poems     7:29 
3 Entity     6:34 
4 Luminous Insects     4:48 
5 Peaceable Child     7:29 
6 Sun Locations/Sun Coda     6:01 
7 Recipient     5:11 
8 Psychic Automation     4:00
   Matthew Cooper  Group Member
   Jeremy DeVine  Design, Layout
   Kim Holtermand  Inside Photo
   Inventions  Composer, Producer
   Michael James  Vocals
   Noah Lennox  Original Lyrics
   Esteban Rey  Illustrations
   Mark T. Smith  Group Member, Guitars
Album Moods: Atmospheric Melancholy Spacey Wintry Dreamy Hypnotic Laid–Back/Mellow Lush Plaintive Poignant Searching Soothing Wistful Cerebral Complex Detached Druggy Eerie Epic Ethereal Reflective Romantic Rousing Somber Volatile Bittersweet Passionate Gentle Sprawling Delicate Refined Earnest Sparse Tense/Anxious Dramatic Meandering Reserved
By Hillary Weston | January 15, 2014
≡••≡   If you were to bottle my tears in a jar and slowly pour them out onto your tongue with a dropper — this is what they would taste like. Yes, the wonder that is Matthew Cooper of Eluvium and Explosions in the Sky’s Mark T. Smith have teamed up for a new musical act and are calling themselves Inventions. Temporary Residence will be releasing Inventions’ self–titled, full–length album come April 1 — and I really don’t know what I am going to do for two months in anticipation.
≡••≡   Last spring, Cooper and Smith teamed up for the track “Envenom Mettle” on Eluvium’s stunning and transportive double–album Nightmare Ending, to which, Cooper told me of their collaboration:
“…one of the people I worked with, Mark T. Smith from Explosions in the Sky, he’s an old friend of mine and we’ve always gotten along really well and shared a lot in common musically; t came very naturally working with him and he just enjoyed trying different stuff out for the track we did together. So I think it was a little liberating for him as well…It’s really night and day — he really pushed the track into a much more grander version of itself. But that ended up being pretty effortless. The other collaboration was more from a distance; but at the same time was really smooth and just came naturally. So it wasn’t any trouble whatsoever. I’ve always been really into the idea of collaboration, like I was saying about trying to exercised all of the different parts of the brain and personality in a person, there’s a part of me that wishes I could just go be in a band and not be the person in charge of doing everything, be the person that helps add and develop something. That seems like it would be fun.”   (
Explosions in the Sky and Eluvium Bring ‘Inventions’ to Life
Music | By Hillary Weston | April 16, 2014
Review by Gregory Heaney | Score: ***½
≡••≡   On their own, Eluvium mastermind Matthew Cooper and Explosions in the Sky guitarist Mark T. Smith have explored similar sonic territories in very different ways. Where Eluvium explore the subtlety of gentle soundscapes and textural ambience, EITS favor grandeur, with overwhelming crescendos of emotion breaking through the loneliness of their songs’ wide–open spaces. Teaming up as Inventions, the duo create a new identity for themselves on their eponymous debut for Temporary Residence. Not so much merging their individual sounds as finding a middle ground between them, the pair craft a series of melancholic musical plateaus, with each feeling more like a specific moment in time than a rising and falling composition. Rather than fill the song with dynamic builds and cathartic releases, Inventions work in pulses of intensity, capturing a moment and holding on to it like a firefly caught in a jar. In creating these musical still lifes, Inventions have hit on a sound that’s more about mesmerism than movement. The real magic, however, is that they’ve somehow managed to pull this off without making the album powerfully dull. By giving us songs that feel like the middle of something, Inventions leave room for the listener to add their own beginning and ending to the musical narrative, allowing the listener to burrow into the layers of melody to carve out their own safe little space. While the pedigree of this project is certainly strong, Inventions stands strong on its own, so although fans of Eluvium and Explosions in the Sky won’t have any trouble digging into the album, being a fan of the duo’s previous work isn’t a part of the price of admission.
NPR First Listen:
by ANDY BETA | March 23, 2014 | 11:00 PM ET
≡••≡   The majestic instrumental rock band Explosions in the Sky broke into the mainstream thanks to its contributions to the soundtrack for Friday Night Lights — both the film and the TV series of the same name. With three–quarters of the band originally from Midland, Texas, Explosions in the Sky possesses an ideal toolkit to capture the sounds of football, the roaring wind of the plains and the quiet hope and despair of small–town life in the Texas Panhandle.
≡••≡   In more than a decade of albums and touring, Explosions guitarist Mark Smith had never stepped outside of his band, but on one tour he found a kindred spirit in opening act and labelmate Eluvium. The ambient project of Matthew Cooper, Eluvium explores sound realms not dissimilar to those of Explosions in the Sky. Both make music that acts like a force of nature: If Explosions favors the roar of sudden thunderstorms, Eluvium traffics in the plaintive rhythms of a gentle afternoon rain.
≡••≡   So it makes sense that Cooper and Smith would finally combine their talents as Inventions. On their first album together, the two don't reinvent their respective sounds — both of which can be musically abstract yet emotionally evocative — so much as find new ways to refine them. "Echo Tropism" suggests the slow–moving grandeur and volume swells of Smith's band, but with subtle throbs inherent to Eluvium's work. In "Flood Poems," Smith's guitar gleams like stars in the West Texas night, distant yet luminous, while Cooper adds what might be fragments of choirs and bowed cello around those spare notes.
≡••≡   Slowly and deliberately, the album gathers velocity, exploding by the time it reaches the buzzing, dynamic "Sun Locations/Sun Coda," in which distant voices thunder like war chants as drums roar to the fore. Where the duo excels is in mixing the ambient with the anthemic. Cooper gets chiming tones and distant voices from his software, sounding like something from Aphex Twin's Selected Ambient Works, Volume II, while Smith makes the sounds grow more dense, adding in tympani rolls, glowering guitar feedback and sustained piano chords. Or is that the other way around? So sympathetic is the wordless dialogue between Cooper and Smith that it's hard to tell where one ends and the other begins. (

≡••≡   I like to eat peanuts. My fiancée says I eat too many of them. “Too much of a good thing is never healthy for you,” she often reminds me as I’m picking through bag after bag. So, I try to stop. But they’re so goddamn good, I always think, and eventually I get sick after plowing through Trader Joe’s finest medleys. What does this have to do with Inventions? Well, the idea of cross–pollinating the sounds of Matthew Cooper (Eluvium) and Mark T. Smith (Explosions in the Sky) feels like it could warrant the same argument: too much of a good thing. Emotionally speaking, the project skirts between two of the finest ambient composers in today’s music.
≡••≡   Eluvium’s loop–friendly Talk Amongst the Trees (2005) and brass–branded Copia (2007) remain works of art. They’re aural moments captured on tape inclined to coddle the mind, body, and soul in ways that music is supposed to do at its most basic form. The same can be said of Explosions in the Sky, specifically their earlier works like Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Live Forever (2001), and The Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place (2003) — true emotional vessels that don’t ask to be absorbed but instead lived in. So, when combining the two, it was apt to feel both hype and hesitation.
≡••≡   Either feeling is unnecessary. Similar to the artist’s respective outputs, Inventions is another mood–friendly collection of ambient works that never impresses too hard upon your feelings. Instead, it’s a hallmark to Cooper and Smith’s strengths — the loops and guitar, respectively — and a further extension to areas they might acknowledge with future Eluvium or Explosions in the Sky releases. The very funereal “Flood Poems” riffs between old tricks and new chants, the industrial “Entity” churns around like a steam room with a conscious, and the post–rock clusterfuck of “Sun Locations / Sun Coda” sounds like a sci–fi score on the operating table.
≡••≡   On the whole, though, there’s less of a message with Inventions than any of their respective efforts. That’s okay; it’s better to consider this an experiment anyhow. ≡••≡   Especially since not all of it works: the theatrical vocals on bottom track “Recipient” are too on–the–nose, while the middling flare effect that turns each track’s mid-section into a Kevin Shields production becomes predictable by closer “Psychic Automation”. Still, it’s eight tracks worth a stroll or two and a respectable presentation on why Cooper and Smith will always have a career in music, whether it’s stabbing our emotions or turning life into cinema. I’m just not sure I’ll crave it much.
Essential Tracks: “Flood Poems”, “Entity”   Fortaken:
By Mark Richardson | April 2, 2014 | Score: 7.5
BY JOHNSKIBEAT | 2 APRIL 2014 | Score: 8/10
≡••≡   Sleep’s Jerusalem, Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells, Jean Michel Jarre’s Oxygene and, to a lesser extent, Pink Floyd‘s Dark Side Of The Moon and Ozric Tentacles’ Jurassic Shift. These are all albums whose tracks remain emotionally welded together, no matter how many attempts are made to pull them asunder. Those who harbour a strong passion for long–players of this ilk will glory in the birth of Inventions whose debut demands instantaneous full exposure. (excerpt)
Explosions In The Sky's Mark Smith on music and storytelling
By BONG STA. MARIA | October 27, 2013 | 7:28pm


Inventions — Inventions (2014)