COTS RELEASES “OUR BREATH” FROM SANDRO PERRI-PRODUCED ALBUM DISTURBING BODY
STEPH YATES’ “BRILLIANT DEBUT” (BANDCAMP) IS SET FOR RELEASE AUGUST 11, 2021 VIA BOILED RECORDS
Photo Credit: JG+Shi // DOWNLOAD HIGH-RES
Disturbing Body, the intimate debut album by Cots, paints a celestial portrait of lost love and consequence. The solo project of Montreal/Guelph composer, singer, and guitarist Steph Yatesblends elements of bossa nova, folk, jazz, and classical against a modern art backdrop, her subtly unconventional style brushed across its lush palette. The first single and video “Flowers”is a gorgeous meditation on death that introduced Yates’s captivating voice and clever lyricism over a minimal bossa shuffle.
Today, Cots shares the second single, “Our Breath,” showcasing producer Sandro Perri’s touch in greater measure – a more enclosed use of space, a subtle warble on Yates’s rich vocals, her backgrounded nylon guitar flooded, just barely, with flanged hand drum radiating ambience and light distortion. “Our Breath” reflects the nocturnal, experimental spectrum of Disturbing Body, Yates’s oblique poetry suggesting the mystery of this secret hymn.
“With some songs lyrical meaning is not straightforward but more like a braid,” Yates says, “and it’s like that with ‘Our Breath.’ I can’t say what exactly the song is about. In part it has to do with a person carrying with them what they need and finding access to it in difficult moments.”
After residual effects of a concussion left Cots uncertain how to finish the record on her own, she reached out to Toronto musician and producer Perri about working together – his production notes of “play louder” and “sing plainer” eventually making indelible marks on the contours of each song. Disturbing Body found its rhythm over four cosy days in Guelph at The Cottage studio, run by Canadian veteran recording artist and engineer Scott Merritt. The result saw her crystalline vocals and intricate guitar entwined with Perri’s atmospheric arrangements for Blake Howard (percussion), Josh Cole (bass guitar), Ryan Brouwer (trumpet), Karen Ng(saxophone), Thomas Hammerton (keyboards), and Perri himself (synths, samples, field recordings).
With the elements in place, the deft sonic precision of Disturbing Body evokes Yates’s understated yet detailed songcraft and attention to lyrical play. Over ponderous nylon guitar, and careful instrumental incursions, Yates’s crystalline voice carries the gravitas of the album’s ten elegiac movements.
“These songs, for the most part, have to do with the heart, something I was shy to write about previously,” Yates reveals. “It’s possible my deepening love for Brazilian music, wherein some of my favourite artists sing freely about o coração, emboldened me in this way. As a collection, the songs give a prismatic view of a lone heart in its course having known closeness and having known loss.”
Disturbing Body will be released August 11, 2021 via Boiled Records on vinyl and digital formats.
Sparked by her fascination with mathematics’ vast poetic potential, and the power of celestial mechanics, Disturbing Body explores the unexplainable interactions of interstellar bodies and human beings alike. The title – inspired by the phrase for a planet whose gravitational pull alters another planet’s course – speaks similarly to the disruptive nature of love.
“I find it strange, unsettling, mysterious; how incalculable the experience of feeling drawn to someone is,” Yates says. “Human bodies are like celestial ones; just as a planet’s course is carved out in relation to others, our course – where we go and what we do – is compelled by forces of attraction.”
Across Disturbing Body’s disparate touchpoints and searching melodies – somewhere between the stars and earthly interactions alike – Cots intersects, and starts to make a whole lot of sense.“A cot is a solitary, introspective, and dreamy space. It’s temporary too, suggesting liminality, moving on, passing through. It’s something you leave behind.”