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Review: Max Cooper - Yearning For The Infinite

Max Cooper releases his new album 'Yearning For The Infinite' in cooperation with The Barbican.
Max Cooper

Max Cooper has released his new album Yearning For The Infinite. The album was created out of a commission from the Barbican, the British arts and learning center that looks to push art into new areas of life. Pictures of the infinite inspired Cooper, tethering human nature and the unbounded.

With such a context, we can start to understand Cooper’s process and thinking for this album. It works in a circular motion, the album leading into itself over and over like a dog chasing its tail. There are moments of ambient bliss and others where elements combine into organized chaos.

Yearning For The Infinite starts out very soft and ambient “Let There Be” and then leads into slow-burning and hypnotic “Repetition” that lives up to its name as a repeating melody sucks you into the song’s grasp.

The record starts to build and really becomes its full form when we hit the middle. He creates beautiful chaos and tension on “Aleph 2” before sliding down into frenzied breakbeats on “Scaler.” Things only get more hectic with the frenetic almost Aphex-Twin like “Penrose Tiling.”

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Scurrying synths help craft “Transcendental Tree Map,” which starts the slow descent down to the same level that we found ourselves with the start of the LP. It gets softer with ambient compositions like “Morphosis” and the eventual finale “In Pursuit Of Ghosts.”

“Void” feels a little out of place as a pretty straight away techno track that could fit into an Awakenings peak time set. It is still well produced and well made, but it breaks the rhythm and flow of the album.

We have been getting individual singles from the album, but it always felt like we were missing the larger context for an album that was meant to be consumed in its full form. The album slowly builds to its peak in the middle and then allows the listener to meander their way back down to their bed by the end. Each song feeds into the next with purpose, creating a circular link in the entire project. There are moments where it can feel like it is ready for a museum exhibit with abstract melodic elements and seemingly random beats, but it doesn’t get too heady and lose the listener with a gaudy price of admission. It satisfies the mission of The Barbican, while also remaining open enough to his full fanbase.

Listen to the full album and get your copy here.

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