Max Cooper’s Raw Vulnerability in One Hundred Billion Sparks

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Max Cooper | One Hundred Billion Sparks | MESH

Release Date: 20 September 2018

Review by Jenna Dreisenstock 

An inhale of the fresh clarity, within the overlook of canyons – filled in a kind of awe, so indescribably beautiful; forests gleaming emerald, mountains stretching farther than eye can engulf – the deep cerulean of waves embracing the shores, to sit alone within the self and emerge in reminisce, within the joy of others. The submerge in isolation, the phantasm love in creation.

With a bold delve into the isolation of a cottage in a gentle quiet of a Welsh landscape; famed electronic, ambient and techno producer Max Cooper returns with an audio-visual immerse, a raw expression of vulnerability in his most recent album One Hundred Billion Sparks. In a manner so intricately built, the album embraces in versatility, expression – relatability, and a bittersweet melancholia in experimentation.

As the first single released off the album, ‘Hope’ introduces greets us in a melancholic sprout, planted electronic clarity seeping lovingly into a tender drone in ambient seclusion. A textural submerge as though one sleeps engulfed – a longing gaze at the stretch of ice-capped mountains; a bittersweet isolation as one allows a atmospheric, individual insignificance to textural overwhelm in the face of indescribable, awe in beauty. True to its title, the track progresses in a hopeful underlying percussive beat; amongst the layers of avalanche swell. Reminiscent of the doldrums in climactic post-rock, emotional in uprising and bloom through the ice; the embrace aura in spherical sound shivers tender in shimmering movement – timbres so intricately weaved within the other they sing in reflective heartbeat.

Oscillation in firefly glitter; ‘Rule 110’ opens with the flutter of cold light timbre, wings flicker in the shine of textural clockwork – a sweetened radiance, as the tempo of the track glides forward into a self-assured beat. A percussive confidence in tender dance, building brick by brick in the radical softness of a track in which we can immerse; and we can reflect. Upbeat yet introspective, the playful use of electronic curiosity in subtle foundation; the greeting of intermittent vocals in the aural soundscape of bubbling reflection – melodic polyphony in an evolution of confidence and the submerge of dance and vocal manipulation.

The sweetness of ‘Volition’s introduction twirls as a ballerina in a music box; an ambient, exploration in Cooper’s vulnerability; the raw bloom of atmospheric closed-eye, sparkling stars and twilight sky. A further glitter swirls glissando as the track gains an uptempo, a chillwave-esque ability to nod along in a loving engulf; a textural interconnection of bittersweet sadness in the spring – a protective ghostly clap and drive in vocal manipulation. Reminiscent of artists such as Baths (also known as Geotic) the building percussive layering infused with vocal cuts allows an upbeat soundscape of layered pitch, music box twinkling amongst an immersive of introspection.

A mixture of house-reminiscent downtempo beat, within an ambient space shines in Cooper’s ability to build textural seascapes; with a name so apt ‘Lovesong’ enters delicately as heart-string tug in atmosphere. The wandering ebb and flow of the synthesizer sweeping elements of Cooper’s unique aural personality and style; a slow pace repetition, the feeling within the chest of one deep in dialectical thought, insightful in minimalism.

One Hundred Billion Sparks is a true reflection of Cooper’s experience in Wales. The ability to portray the vulnerability of the self through narrative, in isolation; the deepest of thought, the awe of nature yet within an uptempo dance – an album dynamic in nature yet true to the self and the willingness to experiment, to delve within the raw soundscape of portrayal in artistic expression.

Feature Image Credit: Alex Kozobolis

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