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.