After six records on Temporary Residence as Eluvium, Matthew Cooper’s got a reputation as a serious composer of effectively naturalistic ambient pieces. The dark earthy tones that he normally employs rely a great deal on mood for their effectiveness, and it makes perfect sense that Cooper would eventually jump to film composition and scoring. This album is the soundtrack to the film, Some Days Are Better Than Others, directed by Matt McCormick, and starring James Mercer of The Shins and Carrie Brownstein of Sleater-Kinney.
There are thirteen tracks linked together with titles that resound like chapter headings: “Drifting,” “Pursuance,” “Into Dust,” “Reprieve.” Cooper is a collector of junked musical instruments and he explores what he calls the “ghosts” in the aural space each instrument occupies. Without having seen the film, one can only surmise, but it seems that the mood intended here is a wee bit gloomy and languid, with mostly sustained, wheezing, groaning organ tones of one kind or another. There isn’t much happening on a track like “Curious Moments,” which is just a floaty transition that lasts 80 seconds, but “Camille and The Ocean” (great name for a band) burrows deeper into the psyche with musty, descending notes that feel right at home in the basement.
This is one of those records that requires locking the world out, putting headphones on and just letting it flow over you in order to absorb the full effect. In the end, it’s one, long, droning film score best played late at night, in the moonlight. Cooper resides in his own little treehouse deep in the woods and his language is the wind in the trees.