Billy Coté – “Excerpt: Place (GirlGhost1)” b/w “Cloudx Trans 5 (GirlGhost2)” 7″

Billy Coté - “Excerpt: Place (GirlGhost1)” b/w “Cloudx Trans 5 (GirlGhost2)”

Billy Coté – “Excerpt: Place (GirlGhost1)” b/w “Cloudx Trans 5 (GirlGhost2)”

Was 2008 really the last time we properly heard from Billy Coté?  Seemingly so. After a pretty prolific run of releases from the early-‘90s onwards – co-leading Madder Rose, under the alias of The Jazz Cannon, alongside Mary Lorson (as a double-act and within her Saint Low ensemble) and as a third of The Piano Creeps – Coté has been keeping a low-profile to concentrate on life, work and other creative projects over the past eight or so years.  Now though, Coté finally returns to more visible duty with the release of this solo lathe-cut 7” single for Polytechnic Youth, ahead of a Madder Rose reunion single due in the early part of 2017 on Angry Mom Records.

For those more familiar with his song-based Madder Rose wares, this highly-limited 99-copy seven-inch may feel like an alien transmission, yet it’s a satisfyingly logical and more immersive extension upon Coté’s lesser-known work instrumental explorations with The Jazz Cannon and on 2002’s criminally overlooked duo album with Lorson (confusingly entitled Piano Creeps).

The A-side – “Excerpt: Place (GirlGhost1)” – offers a distilled edit of a 34-minute art installation soundtrack piece, originally assembled to accompany a February 2015 exhibition by photographic artist Craig Main.  Seamlessly stitching together layers of synths, live piano and processed guitars, this soothing yet arresting track renavigates the tranquil oceanic waters charted inside 1977’s Cluster & Eno and the more abstract Steve Reichian corners of Tortoise’s TNT, with drones, electro-burbling and hypnotic repetitions.  The more forthright flipside of “Cloudx Trans 5 (GirlGhost2)” is perhaps even better.  Blending pulsing Morse code-like synth strata with mutated horn sounds eked-out of treated guitar, the infinitely influential Another Green World is cross-referenced with affection and scholarliness but without slipping into lazy pastiche.

With reportedly another eight parts in this “GirlGhost” series waiting in the wings, this could just be the beginning of Billy Coté’s new awakening as an ambient adventurer and his rapprochement with the music industry.  In the interim however, these two intelligent and magnetising miniatures, with their generous helpings of warmth, intelligence and mystique, should serve us exceedingly well across dark winter nights.

Polytechnic Youth