Release Date: Mar 17, 2015
Record label: Temporary Residence
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
When ambient pop duo Inventions came together for the release of their self-titled 2014 debut, its strengths were no surprise based on the pedigree of the bandmembers. Mark T. Smith had spent all of his sonic energy up until that point playing in sprawling instrumental rock act Explosions in the Sky and Matthew Cooper had produced gorgeous ambient music under the name Eluvium for over a decade when the two friends formed new project Inventions.
It seems like only yesterday that Inventions were releasing their debut self-titled LP and here they are already with the follow up: Maze of Woods. The short, smidge-under-ten-month’s gap between releases feels like something of a statement of intent from Inventions: 'This project is not just us doing a pretty-sounding one-off collaboration before we scuttle back off to our day jobs. This is something that we are committed to.
Head here to submit your own review of this album. We've discovered something remarkable in Maze of Woods, a find broader in scope than what initially shows as the second full-length effort from longtime friends Matthew Cooper (Eluvium) and Mark T. Smith (Explosions In The Sky)--together known as Inventions. It's been confirmed that these sounds have always existed, out in space in another time somewhere in the future.
In 2014, friends and label-mates Mark T. Smith (guitarist for Explosions in the Sky) and Matthew Cooper (multi-instrumentalist laptop composer Eluvium) hit upon what seems, in retrospect, like a no-brainer collaboration. Joining skyward-facing post-rock to earthy ambiance, they clasped together like yin and yang, with the guitarist's widescreen beauty wending among the producer's sheer harmonic forms.
It’s only been a year since Inventions, comprised of Eluvium‘s Matthew Cooper and Explosions In The Sky‘s Mark Smith, first emerged. Following on from a well-received eponymous debut, they return with Maze Of Woods, another collection of instrumentals that lean heavily towards ambience. The record as a whole is mostly influenced by the closing paragraph of Denis Johnson’s novella Train Dreams, describing the wordless howl of feral wolf boy.
Portland based ambient producer Matthew Cooper, who goes by the moniker Eluvium, and Mark T. Smith of experimental prog-rockers Explosions In The Sky, are obviously kindred spirits. They first collaborated as Inventions back in 2013, soon afterwards releasing a self-titled debut album which saw the outfit hit a fine middle ground between the gliding ambience and exuberant post rock of their respective musical projects.
Two albums in less than a year from Temporary Residence Ltd. label mates Matthew Cooper and Mark T. Smith is suggestive of a very healthy creative flow. With their eponymous debut gaining well-warranted praise last April, the pair didn’t wait for any more encouragement before embarking on album number two.
Matthew Cooper of Eluvium and Mark T. Smith of Explosions in the Sky team up once again for their sophomore release as Inventions. On Maze of Woods, inspired by Denis Johnson's novella Train Dreams, the duo cram in every soundscape possible: from found sounds to obscure samples, warbled chanting to the clanging of bells.Those familiar with the duo's self-titled debut album will find themselves in very similar territory, albeit with a tad less drone and with somewhat more experimental results.