Eluvium's Virga I consists of three long-form ambient pieces created using generative processes and extended looping techniques. While recorded as personal experiments, the album began to take shape after Matthew Cooper and his wife were forced to temporarily live in their garage studio while work was being done on their house, all while a snowstorm was taking place. These pieces became the soundtrack to the unexpected home vacation, and they seemed absolutely perfect for relaxing inside a small space while snow was blanketing the outside world. Considering how many forms Cooper's output has taken, from the solo piano compositions of An Accidental Memory in the Case of Death and Pianoworks to the folk-tinged orchestral indie of Similes, Virga I is perhaps the most purely ambient album he's released to date. The three pieces all consist of rich, immersive waves of sound that gently flow back and forth, massaging the listener's consciousness. The 20-minute title track as well as "House Taken Over" both resemble literal ocean waves lapping the seashore, repeating their foggy melodies ad infinitum. Both pieces sound equal parts distressed and consoling, perfect for contemplating life and working out personal conflicts in real time. "Abyss Forms" is significantly darker and more melancholy, constantly seeming to dive into the depths of despair. It's the closest Cooper has come to revisiting the sound of his guitar-driven 2003 debut, Lambent Material, but this doesn't sound quite as unrefined and lo-fi. Conceptually, this is one of the most simple, direct statements Cooper has made, yet it's far from seeming underdeveloped or less considered than his other works. It's extraordinarily soothing and healing, and sounds perfect on repeat during a bleak, dismal winter.
AllMusic Review by Paul Simpson