Inventions is the project of Eluvium's Matthew Robert Cooper and Explosions in the Sky's Mark T. Smith, however these instrumentals on Continuous Portrait are less dramatic than either project. This is music that would be appropriate filling a sun kissed atrium, like Grand Central Station at dawn. It ticks along at a brisk pace, with some structure borrowed from rock music, and embellishments of vocal and bird samples, strings, reeds, xylophone, and the pleasantly unidentifiable.
The album opens with a jam in "Hints and Omens," with a melody running up and down the keyboard while the other instrument sections hammer out the underlying progression. Together, Cooper and Smith incorporate synth, piano, horns, strings, ambiance, percussion, and various adorning samples while constructing a makeshift orchestra to take turns spinning light, floating melodies over all these sounds.
The large hall filter is what makes the music sound large and expansive. The bright, ebullient character is why it sounds like daybreak. It feels as if all of the songs are similar pieces of the same story, with a seamless hand-off between each song for a contiguous album experience. There isn't always a clear melody, but it still rollicks along with regular chord changes and a rhythm section to keep it pinioned in rock, or rather, post-rock territory, with atypical instrumentation.
While Continuous Portrait is not quite what I would call dense, it does shuffle along with many small parts combining together to make a balanced whole. Some samples are a perfect example of radio segue music, which is not to say that it is boring in the least. There's a playfulness here that is both fun and captivating, with an emotional lift to it.
Continuous Portrait is a simple pleasure to listen to: immaculately constructed finger snapping songs, with beautiful instrumentation and a clear idea conveyed by each one.