Nightmare Ending is the first proper Eluvium album released since 2010's Similes, the unexpectedly vocal-heavy ambient-pop record that simultaneously delighted and confounded longtime fans. But the Nightmare Ending story actually began years earlier, as it was intended to be the follow-up to the watershed album, Copia. Conceived as a way of helping loosen his selfimposed ideals of perfection, Cooper labeled each Nightmare Ending track as either a "dream," or an "imperfection" a way of differentiating the philosophical concept of "dream vs. reality," couched in the more tangible technical distinctions of "flawless vs. flawed." With each progressive listen those differences naturally challenged themselves, and without relying on the standardized perfection protocol, Cooper became increasingly reluctant to release any of it. He shelved it, and pursued Similes instead. But Nightmare Ending wouldn't go away; it lingered in the back of his mind, the abandoned fruits of a truly worthwhile and noble journey towards a less creatively constraining mindset. Cooper returned to it with renewed vigor, writing and recording in a blur of time that spanned several years, ending with a pair of inspired collaborations with Mark T. Smith of longtime friends and label mates, Explosions In The Sky ("Envenom Mettle," closing Disc 1)and Ira Kaplan of Yo La Tengo ("Happiness," closing Disc 2). The result is a body of work that encompasses everything remarkable about past Eluvium albums, executed more powerfully and poignant than ever before.