Published Sep 18, 2018One Hundred Billion Sparks, Max Cooper's third LP of effervescent ambient techno, is being released alongside an impressive companion series of online visual chapters, but even without these, Cooper's conceptual vision (exploring the theoretical hundred billion neurons/sparks that constitute our identities) comes across coherently enough through his distinct brand of glitched-out, crystalline production and expansive, epic melodies.
Those familiar with Cooper's previous work will be on familiar ground here. Melodies and long-form atmospherics develop unhurriedly in a manner similar to Jon Hopkins, who, for good reason, is often mentioned in the same breath. Cooper's sound is more cerebral and infinitesimal than Hopkins' more traditional strings and pads, however, often conjuring images of tiny particle effects or careening molecules (those lucky enough to have caught "Aether," Cooper's installation project with Architecture Social Club, consisting of thousands of suspended, undulating points of light, will be struck by the synesthetic unity of his work here).
"Rule 110" is probably the most club-ready track here, featuring a nice fat snare riding the second beat for most of its duration, while vocal snippets cascade with mathematical exactitude. The massive warehouse throb of "Identity" may remind some of recent work by fellow London-ite Daniel Avery as well.
Most of these tracks are designed for immersive contemplation as opposed to dance floor grooving, however. The cosmic beauty of "Hope," with its teasing hi-hat pattern, sets the scene for a beat that never arrives, for instance, leaving the listener hungry for more. Those with a refined palate should come away from Cooper's latest well satisfied however. (Mesh)