Mark T. Smith of Texas post-rock superstars Explosions in the Sky and Matthew Cooper, the Oregon artist who records ambient music under the name Eluvium, have paired as a duo called Inventions. If you are familiar with both artists, then the resulting album sounds exactly as you would expect. This may be a disappointment if you were hoping to be surprised by new sounds and odd curveballs. On the other hand, these two men are extremely reliable at what they do, and this collaboration is exactly as great as you’d expect. It isn’t very difficult to guess who brought what to this side project, as Smith’s heavenly guitar tones and Cooper’s crushing atmospherics and classical-tinged compositions are such signatures in their regular gigs. Only some moments on Inventions mesh their contributions until the individuals are unrecognizable, such as “Sun Locations/Sun Coda” with its chirping samples, twitching strings, and electronic squiggles that suggest what shooting stars might sound like. One of the undeniable highlights is “Peaceable Child,” a seven-minute passage that begins with piano notes and glitch samples before the steady beat of a drum gently raises the piece aloft. That’s not an anomaly, however; this is an album that doesn’t touch the ground very often.
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