Oliver Coates – Shelley’s on Zenn-La

coatesLike a lot of the world’s great nightclubs, Shelley’s Laserdome came to an untimely end at the hands of the local constabulary. Staffordshire Police shut down the Stoke-on-Trent institution on Halloween night 1992. The house/rave culture hotspot featured sets by DJ Sasha, Carl Cox and a host of other groundbreakers.

Oliver Coates’s latest, Shelley’s on Zenn-La, is equal parts tribute and sci-fi fantasy. “Shelley’s (Laserdome),” reads the album’s notes, “can simultaneously exist on the fictional planet of Zenn-La, and can house a devotional, alien ritual of early UK rave culture, pioneering IDM and deep minimalism.”

True enough. The cellist/Radiohead pal/electronic music producer has delivered a wide-ranging, 39-minute epic. What it lacks in runtime, it more than makes up for in moment after moment of pure WTF-ery.

“Norrin Radd Dreaming” is as weird as it sounds. Delightfully so. The synth lines are all a bit dirge-ish, while the beats are completely uplifting.

“Cello Renoise” matches the instrument least-often featured in electronic music with warped, frequently interrupted vocals and a junglist beat.

“Prairie” is a 101-second moment of exquisite, swirling beauty.

Then it’s right back to the outer space dancefloor and the absurdly titled “Perfect Apple with Silver Mark.”

Coates has a pair of videos to add to the confusion. Enjoy.

Kevin Press

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