'Upstepping' is the new mini-album by the cellist, composer and producer Oliver Coates. On first listen, Coates’ description of it as “pumped-up body music” feels perfectly apt – it’s a bedroom recording fuelled by caffeine, nervous energy and early Orbital and Photek – but deconstructed, destabilising and even sinister elements soon emerge. Coates himself, a globally lauded soloist, juggles appearances in Europe’s grandest concert halls with long-running, wide-ranging collaborations with like-minded artists, from the experimental composers Jonny Greenwood and Mica Levi to the electronic musician and producer Actress.
Upstepping continues Coates’ deep exploration of the synthesis between the sounds he can tease from his cello and the sonic and rhythmic palette of electronic music. The instrument is a bridge between two worlds: the rigour and restraint of classical performance and the catharsis of dance music. Upstepping is fuelled by a childhood spent practising and performing during daylight hours, and glued to the pirate radio of 1980s London at night.
When he came to make Upstepping, “limiting myself was the only rule” Coates says. “About 95 per cent of the sounds are derived from recording the cello and processing it digitally. A hi-hat equivalent is often a distorted, compressed and heavily EQ’d horsehair-on-steel stroke. All the melodic pitched sounds, even the ones that feel like keys, are samples of the tail of a cello harmonic. For example, ‘Perfect Love’ is a study in grey, concealing the source – it’s 100 per cent made from different types of cello attack. All of this is my way to try to widen the vocabulary of percussion, sampling and drum machine sounds, which have a rich history of their own.” Listen to "Timelapse (Walrus)" below.
OLIVER COATES (OFFICIAL WEBSITE)
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