‘Skins N Slime’ is the follow-up to London-based cellist Oliver Coates’ 2018 album ‘Shelley’s On Zenn-la’, after which he embarked on a tour with Radiohead’s Thom Yorke. This latest outing has a tonal harshness thanks to the liberal use of distortion – the “Slime” – to his instrument.
The effect makes the ordinarily sombre instrument carry a heft and grit, giving standout pieces like ‘Honey’ a droning base layer over which more strident cello melodies are applied, while ‘Reunification 2018’ sounds like a feisty heavy metal riff-fest. The majority of the album is taken up with ‘Caregiver’, which is split into five movements. These are among the most insistent and evocative pieces on the record, with ‘Part 2 (4am)’ and ‘Part 4 (Spirit)’ standing out through their continually surprising timbres.
This is the sound of Coates reaffirming his credentials as a master builder of powerfully emotive structures.