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Oliver Coates

Skins N Slime

    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 British cellist and producer leads an impassioned performance of string through viscous, synthetic modulation, triggering a darker side of his compositional sensibilities. Shelley’s experimental dance hybrids are substituted here for scorching color palettes and brutal, howling tones to embody the mess of uninhibited creativity.

    Amid the album’s dust and debris, a call to let the light in evokes the cuts and voids of Gordon Matta-Clark. The polyphonic architecture of skins n slime is cavernous and bright, where melodic cinders have space to cascade between thick walls of noise, and sounds are left to settle in serendipitous ways. The album is also inspired by the musical numerology of Hanne Darboven and the compositions of unsung Dutch musician Enno Velthuys. The album was completed in Glasgow in December 2019. Embracing both suffering and joy for this heavy new sound, Coates incorporates a self-made method of creating cello “slime” throughout the album’s live performances. This melting of rich layers seeps through a chain of two digital loopers, distortion and chorus, which modulate the cello’s strings into a metallic sheen.

    Like structural pillars, the loopers’ automation triggers and reverses musical phrases at predetermined moments, refreshing the audio buffer with unexpected gliding steps. The Caregiver parts 1-5 suite is a purge of invisible sacrifice and spirit encounters as experienced through a deep harmonic dissonance. “Caregiver part 2 (4am)” and “Caregiver part 5 (money)” are smeared with heavy distortion, caught in the aching, breathless growth spurts of crescendo. In his emotional outpouring, Coates mutates string into something overdriven and saturated, like past afflictions glowing hazily out of reach. skins n slime’s iridescent contrast of light and dark continues through tender, individual moments of pure cello beside decaying drone. The plaintive strokes of “Philomela Mutation,” from the soundtrack of Marianna Simnett’s short film The Bird Game, lead into the lucid string soliloquy of “Butoh baby” and the blistering “Reunification 2018.”

    The latter is the notable storm of metal organum which Coates played to close his performances supporting an extensive international Thom Yorke tour. The melodic murmurs of “Still Life,” and the soaring planes of “Honey,” appear through shifting focus like the flare of burning embers. In the soothing final piece, “Soaring X,” Coates is accompanied once again by Malibu’s spoken word and autotuned voice, her message holding up poetic transparencies of earthly origin against glittering, ethereal strings.

    Kate NV

    Room For The Moon

      “Music knows what she wants,” says Moscow-based artist, Kate NV. On Room for the Moon, the lyrical follow up to the buoyant minimalism of 2018’s для FOR, NV follows this muse in fluid expression, harmonizing her lunar lullabies with a starry compositional choreography. NV says, “I always let music express herself without pressure, and with or without voice.”

      NV began sketching the music of Moon sometime before для FOR, but the album did not take its full shape until the artist entered a new physiological phase. After trying to make a Buchla synthesizer mirror human imperfections, she was compelled to look past the patch bay and reconnect with her own voice. “I spent almost a year and half sitting, at best, or bending over the table. In the end it, my body rebelled, on some kind of physical level.” No longer concerned with demonstrating a traditional composer’s craft of для FOR, the return to vocal forms first found on her debut album Binasu was liberating and (gasp!) gleeful.

      On Moon, NV’s vocals contour through screens of tulle or jars of glitter, the entire collection composed and produced by NV at home and studio spaces throughout Moscow. “I finished this record during the loneliest period of my life,” confides NV, with hints of melancholy, or fabled life lessons, adding even more depth to songs of cheery disposition. Her songs, sung in Russian, French and English, each carry unique features, like ten personas or ten scenes in a play where each character has its own keynote. Room for the Moon was conjured from unlived memories of 70s and 80s Russian and Japanese pop music and film, a 20th century fairy tale suspended in time like a moon torn from a paper sky.

      NV is accompanied by long-time music collaborators on Moon: Jenya Gorbunov on bass guitar, Vladimir Luchanskiy on saxophone, and Quinn Oulton on both instruments. Musician Nami Sato’s gentle words lift and lilt over synth for one piece, too. These friendly contributions are in service of NV’s singular vision; the album is personal and particular in its construction. Filled with warm and sweet memories of her own invention, NV says, “these songs are now my closest friends.”

      Moon could be made from chiffon ripples, night sky transmissions and long shadows. With each song we enter another chamber of illusion, NV’s vocals tiptoe through one track, toy with riddles on another and try to save time in a polka-dotted pocket. On “Plans,” NV, through some sort of sorcery, created a sax solo using only samples from the Found Sound Nation’s “Broken Orchestra” sample pack. A laugh slips from the sheets of music in “Ça Commence Par” like a misplaced photo. Mallet and marimba converse over mushroom tea on “Du Na.” “Tea” herself borrows melody from Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1, and “Telefon” teases us that “there’s nowhere to hide from the song.” But that’s ok, we’re all invited to the party.

      Moon’s cast might make friends with other electric, eclectic, and visionary works of Lizzy Mercier Descloux, Akiko Yano, and Ann Steel. You know the feeling of instant affinity? It’s how you may respond to Room for the Moon. You’ll recognize something strangely familiar and inexplicably attractive, an afterglow of times spent in happy company, imagined or otherwise.


      FORMAT INFORMATION

      Dinked Edition LP Info: Exclusive Swirled clear, blue and yellow vinyl.
      Kiss-Cut Sticker Sheet (a series of stickers based on Kate's illustrations and the album design).
      Numbered sleeve.
      Limited 300 pressing.

      Dinked Edition LP includes MP3 Download Code.

      Ltd LP includes MP3 Download Code.

      Oliver Coates

      Shelley's On Zenn-La

      For Shelley’s on Zenn-La, Oliver Coates designs a complex of bending truths and reverse walkways to vernal states. Open ears can peer down hidden aux channel corridors, while melodic patterns present two-way mirrors to rooms of other retinal colors. An endless euphoria is just beneath the dance floorboards of Shelley’s, and an inquisitiveness unencumbered by the institution of knowledge surrounding its frame and inhabitants. Shelley’s on Zenn-La was made between the Elephant and Castle neighborhood of London and a future dreamscape. In this realm out of time and space, Shelley’s (Laserdome) – a once-legendary late 80s / early 90s nightclub in the industrial town of Stoke-on-Trent in the north of England – can simultaneously exist on the fictional planet of Zenn-La, and can house a devotional, alien ritual of early UK rave culture, pioneering IDM, and deep minimalism. Much of the album’s construction extends from specific, self-imposed ambitions; particular palettes applied to individual creative ideas. These limitations become limitless manifestations of theme: two bass lines running in parallel (one cello, one synth), synthesized waveforms phasing with bowed acoustic drones and chords, synth sequences in nonstandard tuning sitting against folk melody in standard tuning. Coates made a lot of the music for Shelley’s in Renoise, composing drum sequences in hexadecimal numbers and pencil drawn waveforms and cementing specificity in the intricate, intelligent dance machinations. Cellist, composer, and producer Oliver Coates has studied at the Royal Academy of Music, been an artist in residency at London’s Southbank Centre, and received the Royal Philharmonic Society Young Artist Award. Coates has contributed to the recordings of Radiohead, and collaborated with Laurie Spiegel and John Luther Adams. 


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