Following a recalibration and consolidation with their recent electronics-inflected album, 2018’s U.E.F., The Oscillation is back with their sixth and most ambitious album to date, Wasted Space. A meditation on the nature of existence in the face of what can be insurmountable odds, Wasted Space finds The Oscillation painting from the darker shades of the kaleidoscopic scale.
“The origins of Wasted Space go back to Monographic in 2016,” muses Demian Castellanos - the mastermind behind The Oscillation. “That was a very bleak and heavy record and I really needed to move out of that mindset. Making U.E.F freed me up to write a coherent collection of narrative songs and compositions. Wasted Space is a partial continuation of a journey started with U.E.F., but one that re-incorporates more song-based ideas again.”
What’s immediately apparent is that Wasted Space sets it stall well away from the prosaic third-eye tropes that have become orthodoxy. Album opener ‘Entity’ establishes the pace with a focus on the dancefloor as much as on the navigation of existence. Fusing muscular grooves with an industrial wall of sound, these are bold steps into wholly new territories.
“There’s an irony at play here,” considers Castellanos. “It’s a twisted party song, albeit a party for one.” But what a party it is. The mutant disco is bolstered by the rhythmic call-and-response of ‘Drop’, a track that eschews conventional methods of dance sensibility for more instinctive and primal urges. This is music that calls out to the suitably attuned. “We’re reaching out on an innate level,” says Castellanos. “It’s a form of wordless communication that transcends the limitations of verbal language and thought processes.”
Wasted Space’s more somatic moments are tempered and balanced by episodes of contemplation and reflection. Fuelled by dreamy, orchestral sweeps and mournful, sustained notes, ‘The Human Shell’ is a deceptive yet redemptive piece that at first glance appears to be resigned to the futility of existence. But look once again and there you’ll find hope. “People will be able to relate to this song,” states Castellanos. “There's a lot of love and empathy in there and it reaches out to say that we’re not alone, that we don’t have to exist independently of each other.”
Bringing Wasted Space to an emphatic conclusion is the epic instrumental ‘Luminous Being’. Ambitious in scope and delivery, it methodically and unequivocally slow releases repressed emotions to throw the wider world into sharper focus. Hedonistic yet reflective, Wasted Space is an album that moves purposely along a high wire as it finds the perfect balance between dealing with life and escaping it. The Oscillation’s finest album yet, Wasted Space is the area to which you’ll return to again and again.
The Oscillation are one of the best bands in the world. I have all the recent stuff on vinyl and was delighted to pick this harder-to-find earlier LP off via Bandcamp. These tunes are a bit more crisp and punchy than the later stuff with an obvious nod to Spacemen 3/Spiritualized and show them at an earlier stage of their psych journey. Needless to say, it is brilliant, panoramic, adrenaline-fuelled and life-affirming stuff. deadshotkeen