About Oliver Coates
Originally from London, Oliver Coates is a cellist who has worked with a wide variety of artists from the classical, alternative, experimental, and electronic music worlds, in addition to composing his own innovative solo work. His debut album, 2013's Towards the Blessed Islands, included interpretations of pieces by composers ranging from Iannis Xenakis to Squarepusher. His subsequent works have further blended his contemporary classical and electronic influences, with 2016's Upstepping and 2018's Shelley's on Zenn-La creatively incorporating elements of British techno and garage. Aside from his solo work, Coates has worked extensively with Mica Levi, in addition to appearing on albums by Radiohead, Actress, Laurel Halo, and others.
Coates was classically trained at the Royal Academy of Music, earning the highest grades in the university's history, and performed with orchestras including Aurora Orchestra, London Contemporary Orchestra, and the London Sinfonietta. He began experimenting on his own, composing solo work inspired by the harsh, barren electronic music of Autechre. He collaborated with composer Mira Calix on several pieces that were released by Warp (also home to Autechre) on the 2008 CD The Elephant in the Room: 3 Commissions. Coates also collaborated with Calix on a cover of Boards of Canada's "In a Beautiful Place Out in the Country" for the Warp20 (Recreated) compilation in 2009. Coates won the Royal Philharmonic Society Young Artist Award in 2011 and became an Artist in Residence at London's Southbank Centre. He played on Nico Muhly's 2011 album Seeing Is Believing, as well as the soundtracks for There Will Be Blood and The Master, both composed by Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood.
In 2012, Coates collaborated with composer Leo Abrahams on an album of electro-acoustic experiments titled Crystals Are Always Forming. He released his debut solo album, Towards the Blessed Islands, in 2013. The following year, he released Another Fantasy, an EP featuring his interpretation of the title track, composed by house producer Bryce Hackford, as well as two remixes by Hackford himself. He also played on Mica Levi's award-winning soundtrack to the science fiction film Under the Skin, which was released in 2014. Coates contributed to Radiohead's 2016 full-length, A Moon Shaped Pool, and according to the group's leader, Thom Yorke, the cellist played a major role in shaping the album's sound. During the same year, Coates released his second solo album, Upstepping, which was heavily inspired by British dance music (particularly '90s techno groups like Orbital as well as U.K. garage) but created almost entirely with cello and electronic processing. He also collaborated with Levi on an album titled Remain Calm.
In 2017, Coates and Eliza Carthy released a split 7" single containing interpretations of songs written by Levi, in her Micachu guise. Coates signed to RVNG Intl., and his first release for the label was an LP of Canticles of the Sky, a composition by John Luther Adams. This was followed later in 2018 by Shelley's on Zenn-La, an original work inspired by IDM and rave culture. Also in 2018, Coates played on albums by Actress and Laurel Halo, as well as soundtracks composed by Jonny Greenwood (The Phantom Thread) and Daniel Pemberton (One Strange Rock). ~ Paul Simpson