Oliver Coates - skins n slime Music Album Reviews

Oliver Coates - skins n slime Music Album Reviews
Running his instrument through a bevy of effects, the virtuoso cellist summons a powerful, mesmerizing sound variously evoking shoegaze, classical minimalism, drone, and doom metal.

Oliver Coates was anointed a prodigy in the mid 2000s after notching up preposterous exam scores at London’s Royal Academy of Music. He has since shouldered the burden of excellence—embedding in lofty orchestras, accompanying Terry Riley and Steve Reich, scheming with fellow maverick Mica Levi—while hatching plans to vanquish the “Catholic-style guilt” that frightens virtuosos into musical obedience. In this spirit, the cellist occasionally spritzes out some outré dance music to dispel the musty air of academia. His 2018 album, Shelley’s on Zenn-La, did just that, drizzling puckish beats with heavily manipulated cello and lysergic synth globules.
On the records preceding skins n slime, Coates moved easily between genres yet tended to keep his superhero costumes—the classical virtuoso and the electronics whiz—on separate hangers. Any mix-and-matching occurred primarily in the arena of live solo performance. (Thanks to support slots with Radiohead and Thom Yorke, his arena of solo performance now includes actual arenas.) On stage, he plants a cello between his legs, feeds it through effects units and loopers, and summons currents of mourning and ecstasy. Skins n slime bottles the shows’ volcanic intensity by galvanizing raucous shoegaze, minimalist classical, macabre drone, and lashings of plutonic metal, despite rarely reaching for more than a few instrumental elements.

To promote the album, Coates playfully coined a “pastoral metal” hashtag, which feels about right: On songs like “Butoh Baby,” wing-beating melodies soar over scorched-earth synth that channels both wraithlike black metal and the low-end abrasion of sludge and drone. While Coates favors simple, stately toplines, the record’s underbelly suggests fathomless depths; instead of sprawling outward, like Shelley’s on Zenn-La, the songs pirouette before plunging into the abyss. The album’s splicing of beauty and horror invokes the morbid logic of Greek mythology, where stirrings of triumph tend to foreshadow nasty surprises.

The “slime” of the album title is another Coates neologism, describing what he calls “a viscous and melting approach to live sound” employed on three songs. The base ingredient is a slow, improvised melody on overdriven cello. At predetermined intervals, automated loops and reversals crash back in waves, washing the song into harmonic flux. The flirtation with chance may sound suspiciously academic—like a sort of anti-virtuosity flex—but Coates pulls it off: Doused in chorus and distortion, the slime of “Caregiver part 2 (4am),” “Caregiver part 5 (money),” and the Fenneszian “Reunification” adds a celestial sheen to the album’s peaks.

Coates takes almost sadistic pleasure in contorting, abrading, vaporizing, ensliming, and otherwise transmogrifying the instrument he has played since childhood. One moment, the primordial howl of “Caregiver part 5 (money)” evokes a bagpipe elegy bending through Highland winds; the next, it could be a shoegaze fragment wondrously magnified, as if you were peering down a microscope at autopsied My Bloody Valentine spangle. On “Butoh Baby” and “Caregiver part 1 (breathing),” one or two beatific melodies circle the brink of a crescendo, only for the would-be finale to snag and loop. Like an opera director mercilessly drilling a climax, Coates perpetually re-enacts these flashes of joy until, after a while, they feel like one long expression of melancholy.

Coates wrapped the album last Christmas in Glasgow, working in those graveyard hours when, he says, “caregiver” cleaners would materialize to sweep away the night’s excess. Something in the album’s contrasts—its synthesis of infinite drone and infinitesimal melodies—evokes the grandeur of those small acts. Healing overtones ring clearest on “Honey,” a blaze of cello in six parts, reminiscent of the palliative techno popular at European dance festivals. In the hands of crowd-pleasing DJs, this brand of endorphin-balancing ambience sends hectic ravers peacefully into the night. Coates, by contrast, omits the rousing beats and renders his strings as beams of distortion that radiate an angelic glow. The song’s gentle repetition does not leave you content, but rather as a visitation might: stunned, faintly spooked, yet convinced, in the way you can feel a sneeze coming, that profound change is imminent.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Oliver Coates - skins n slime Music Album Reviews Oliver Coates - skins n slime Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Tuesday, October 27, 2020 Rating: 5

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