Oliver Coates is a cellist, electronic producer and composer from the UK. His path in live music and on record has been wildly exploratory. It has existed in multiple trajectories of Romantic and Ambient, Classical and Braindance. His live performances centre on amplified cello interacting with computer environments for sound processing, triggering dub delays, distortions and synth patterns underneath long-limbed and smooth-bowed melodies to submerge the listener.
He recently performed a headline set curated by David Lynch at the Manchester International Festival 2019, of which The Mancunion wrote, “They say save the best until last, and that is exactly what they did because Coates managed to play the most alluring and hypnotising set yet… Coates managed to plummet the audience into an endless rabbit hole of musical beauty, a trance in which linear time and space ceased to exist.”
He has been defined and characterised in different industries – The Fader called him “a music guru with Aphex Twin-level range and an ear for transferring the timeless into electronic music” while the Royal Philharmonic Society in the Classical sector gave him the breakthrough award for Young Artist 2011 for his “diverse and passionate performances” and for drawing in “a new classical audience”.
As a solo artist he opened for Thom Yorke across Europe and the US in 2018, as well as opening for Radiohead at Emirates Old Trafford in Manchester in 2017. He conducted and orchestrated his own music for Karl Lagerfeld’s homecoming catwalk show for Chanel in Hamburg in 2017 at the Elbphilharmonie.
Radical change through encounters with other artists and music has been constant. He has recorded or performed recently with Jonatan Leandoer (Yung Lean), Dean Blunt, Mica Levi and Laurel Halo. Warp Records fans know him for his Boards of Canada cover for the Warp20 box set with Mira Calix.
Releasing on RVNG Intl., Coates recently released a solo LP, “Shelley’s on Zenn-La”, and a recording of John Luther Adams’ “Canticles of the Sky” which was nominated for Best Classical Album at the Libera Awards 2019, presented by the American Association of Independent Music. He has also released a record of improvisations, “Remain Calm”, with Mica Levi on Slip, and an irreverent nod to UK dance music legacies using cut-ups of cello recordings, “Upstepping”, on PRAH Recordings.
Coates has elsewhere performed with Terry Riley, Steve Reich, Jonny Greenwood and Actress at home and abroad. He has appeared at festivals including Big Ears (US), Documenta (GR), OFF (PL), Rewire and Le Guess Who (NL), Intonal (SE), Bad Bonn Kilbi (CH), Borealis (NO), Semibreve (PT), and Green Man, Latitude, Glasgow International and the Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia (UK), and has performed classical cello concertos in Europe, South America, the Far East and Australia.
He has scored two films for the artist Lawrence Lek: “Unreal Estate”, which won the Converse x Dazed Emerging Art Award 2015, and “QE3”, a Glasgow International commission which was awarded the 2016 Vordemburge-Gildewart Artist Prize.
His full-length concert work for strings and pre-recorded sound, “Shorelines”, based on the North Sea Flood of 1953, won a BASCA award for Best Stage Work 2018. He conceived and programmed the first DEEP∞MINIMALISM festival in 2016, which featured Pauline Oliveros’ last public Tuning Meditation. DEEP∞MINIMALISM 2.0, featuring Éliane Radigue, Nivhek (Liz Harris) and Malibu, was held at London's Southbank Centre in late 2019.
As of February 2020