Demian Castellanos has been a bit of a tease of late – 2015 releases ‘KYVU’ and ‘Beyond The Mirror’ were drawn from the vaults while we eagerly awaited the new material. That wait is over.
‘Monographic’ (in a fittingly monochrome cover with linear design) does not disappoint although it does represent an incremental departure from the deliciously dank and cloying aesthetic of previous Oscillation releases. That hardly means that it is lacking in suspense or edginess but there is a more upbeat and dare one say commercially friendly feel to this than on previous releases. Castellanos’ deadpan vocal is something like a fusion between Syd Barrett and Genesis P Orridge voicing Tales Of The Unexpected and this lends itself pretty well to the material. The lead-off title track is a jaunty chug evoking early Hawkwind having a bit of a knees up while “Take Us To The Moon” is, if not quite danceable, is liable to get the faithful twitching a bit down in mosh central and “Truth In Reverse” is a lysergic psycho-drone deconstruction of “Spirit In The Sky”, and way-less annoying. In between these two is “Let It Be The End”, a narcotic slowie of the sort Primal Scream used to throw in to good effect to break up the maelstrom. “Another Attack” meanwhile is an exciting and up-tempo, almost-garage psych construct and easily the most outstanding track thus far. Now THAT will get them moving.
However, what elevates Monographic from a good album to the truly impressive are the final two cuts (at least on the original CD version). The shimmering drone of “Lonely People” represents a return to the dark basement sound of earlier Oscillation and even chucks in a gloomy “anthemic” chorus that you can sing along to, assuming you could muster the energy to do so. It’s on “Alignment Zone (Extended)” that it all comes together though. A lengthy slab of uber-psych, a deep space exploration co-scripted by drummer Valentia Magaletti, it’s quite possibly the best thing Castellanos has put his name to. In fact the whole album could well be Oscillation’s strongest release to date.
(Note: The CD version comes with three extra tracks, all drones, all good. The vinyl format offers different permeations of additional material).