Boomkat Product Review:
So London-based virtuoso cellist Oliver Coates is the new Arthur Russell, right? It’s an obvious comparison, but one that strikes us only seconds into Upstepping and surely stands up throughout this exquisite exploration of avant-classical composition and playfully loose and infectious dance music.
Coates’ 2nd solo album Upstepping follows a impressive schedule of work in recent years; ranging from contributions to Mica Levi’s Under The Skin OST thru to Mark Fell, Okkyung Lee and Rhodri Davies’ A Pattern For Becoming, and regularly with the Slip label.
However, this album exhibits a breadth of scope and sonic palette that we really couldn’t have predicted, both encapsulating his dynamic, colourful explorations of the cello, along with some subtly mean and deftly rude grooves which merge his aesthetic with whole other spheres.
Innocent Love is a wonderful introduction to this style, rustled together like AR meets Martyn at Mica & Tirzah’s place, for some measure, before Timelapse seems to elide bleep house with Afrobeat and Reichian minimalism, and Bambi 2046 sends footwork skittering into avant classical and noise realms.
Yet more surprises come with the lean, crack’d garage techno of Perfect Love, and at the halfway point we’re firmly reminded the man’s tenacity for gripping string arrangements in Memorial To Hitchens, whereas The Irish Book of Death & Flying Ships recalls the trippy collage styles of Mark Leckey or Chino Amobi & Rabit, and a stealthy swerve left leads to the head-turning Afro-latin bustle of Stash.
There’s a lot of ideas crammed into this brilliant album, ripely awaiting your love.