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Oliver Coates

Skins N Slime

RVNG INTL

Released: 6th November 2020

LP£21.99 Buy Now In Stock. Dispatched today.


Oliver Coates’ skins n slime is a caliginous anatomy concealed by a drone-metal membrane, feeding upon mechanized strand distortions and thriving amidst its harmonic waste. In his follow-up album to 2018’s Shelley’s on Zenn-La, the cellist and producer leads an impassioned performance of string through viscous, synthetic modulation, triggering a darker side of his compositional sensibilities.

Having already enjoyed a lot of Coates work (mostly in collaboration with people like Mica Levi amongst others), I was looking forward to listening to his new album for RVNG, easily one of the most interesting US labels. Quite frankly, I feel like I've been poured onto the floor in floods of god's tears. A cellist by trade, Coates uses effects and manipulation to draw out the bowed strings, using distortions and bit crushing to really crunch some of those tonalities into the stratosphere. It's seriously some of the deepest, spine-chilling music you'll hear this year. It reminds me a little of the classic Fennesz music, that processed guitar chopping and looping but the natural sonorous and heightened emotional heft of the cello makes the music far more gut-heavy. It's so, so evocative, it can take your mind's eye to the mountains of Skye, billowing black clouds threatening a storm that never quite lands, or flying over a cityscape at 1am, watching the cars zip by on motorways like light-filled arteries in the dark. I'm also reminded of the work of Colin Stetson, the way he processes saxophone and bends it into new forms and even, on the more melodic passages, Mogwai's less rockist moments. Maybe it's because it's Friday night in lockdown but this is hitting so, so hard. Top 10 of the year for this writer.