Disturbing Body, the haunting debut album from Steph Yates’ avant-garde solo project Cots paints a celestial portrait of lost love and consequences that transcends the listener into an interstellar body.
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 album's opening title track is a starry, forlorn, and askew dirge that pulls you into its mysterious space with Yates's enchanting voice: “Searching for your disturbing body / The math doesn’t add up when I do it alone,” she sings alongside a guttural jazz-infused instrumental fitted with gaps of silence evoking with the feeling of dread.
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. “Human bodies are like celestial ones;” explains Yates, “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.”
The record is filled with evocative and playful poetic lyricism from Yates as her soft haunting voice singing dark yet gentle lyrics glides along the minimalist avant-garde jazzy instrumentals across the record. It creates an almost alien atmosphere, as if the vast expanses of space and time are transmitting directly into your ears.
Highlights from the record include “Bitter Part Of The Fruit” with its gorgeous and bouncy finger-picked guitar carrying the beautiful lyricism, the '60s psychedelic sounding keys on “Sun-Spotted Apple”, and the irresistibly dreamy and jazz-filled track “Inertia Of A Dream”. Disturbing Body as a whole is a widely consistent record, with Yates effectively bringing her unearthly vision to life across the record’s 10 movements.
Across Disturbing Body’s disparate touchpoints and searching melodies, somewhere between the stars and earthly interactions alike, Cots makes a whole lot of sense. “A cot is a solitary, introspective, and dreamy space,” she says. “It’s temporary too, suggesting to me liminality, moving on, passing through. It’s something you leave behind.”