Following a limited vinyl edition in 2018, Oliver Coates’ arrangement of Pulitzer Prize-winning US composer John Luther Adams’ 2007 piece Canticles of the Sky appears for the first time across all formats.
In March 2017, Coates conducted 32 cellists in the UK premiere of the composition, displaying its intimacies after deeply communing with the trajectories of Adams’ fictional suns and moons, the guiding characters and carriers of the piece.
This recorded interpretation, performed by Coates for multi-layered solo cello, takes Canticles of the Sky to wondrous, dizzying new heights, envisaging Adams’ parallel dimension as an idealised construction. Marrying extra-musical studio techniques and meticulous arrangements to Coates’ fascination with early electronic synthesis (especially the work of Laurie Spiegel), the result offers an ultra-sensory take on classical string instrumentation.
Coates has released a handful of solo records under his own name, including the acclaimed 2016 album Upstepping, 2017’s Remain Calm, a collaboration with Mica Levi, and most recently, 2018’s Shelley’s On Zenn-La, his debut album for RVNG. As an artist and performer, he is frequently commissioned by world-renowned orchestras, choreographers and visual artists to compose or curate integral new works.
Available commercially for the first time since its initial 1991 release, Spiegel’s fantastic “intelligent instrument” album testifies to the power of an artist who pushed the boundaries of electronic music to unexplored territory. Bandcamp Album of the Day Jan 11, 2019
These experimental electronic songs, half of which stretch past the 10-minute mark, evolve slowly and with purpose, building incrementally to climaxes as intuitive as they are thrilling. Bandcamp Album of the Day Jan 13, 2020