Virga I by Eluvium [9/10]

Eluvium, aka Matthew Cooper is my favorite musician in the broad field of ambient music, a territory I’ve largely left alone since a deep fascination through the 1960s to 1980s. “Virga I” is the first in a new series and this time the versatile Cooper has fashioned a wonderful album of three pieces in the style of real, genuine ambient music as I experienced it first with the music of Tangerine Dream’s Phaedra and then Klaus Schulze. Long looping songs, apparently generated by sounds and tunes under the presence of algorithms, whoosh and flow and ebb in a hugely satisfying aural panorama suited to both late night immersive listening and alluring lockdown work background. The first twenty-minute piece seems to herald arrival, the second shorter one is more “here,” and the third piece ebbs off into the distant, but really, all three are part of a vast, emotional whole that had me gasping with admiration. Virga I is not for everyone, for it really is suffusing and anti-rock, but for anyone ever attracted to Brian Eno and his notions of ambience, it is a 2021 highlight.

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