In the last episode, we found Matthew Cooper (aka Eluvium) lost among an ethereal sea of epic feedback guitar washes in Talk Amongst the Trees; he seemed to be going full steam ahead and delivering one of the best ambient albums of 2005. With this four-track EP, When I Live by the Garden and the Sea, Eluvium revisits elements that made his first three records so potent and original. With the EP's opener, "I Will Not Forget That I Have Forgotten," the piano suites of his second album, An Accidental Memory in the Case of Death, come crashing back and hit the distorted guitars of Talk Amongst the Trees head on in an epic, emotional, six-minute composition. This wave of sound gently crashes and we're left with the Tom Hanks sample in the beginning of "As I Drift Off," setting a very disturbing tone for layers of guitar noise and melodic swells that wouldn't be out of place on his debut album. And even though he exorcises these musical demons once and for all, it's still as fresh and engaging as anything put forth in the post-rock world, circa 2006. When I Live by the Garden and the Sea is the end of one chapter in Cooper's breathtaking career, and hopefully the start of another one equally as engaging, intense, and emotive.
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AllMusic Review by Rob Theakston