Cardinal Fuzz are proud to present: The Oscillation – Cable Street Sessions.
Hot on the heels of last year’s “From Tomorrow” LP, which saw The Oscillation continue their progressive mutation into one of the most hallucinogenic bands on the scene today, The Cable Street Sessions adds a further shot in the arm to these claims. Anybody who has managed to catch The Oscillation live will confirm that their brand of liquid psyche is some of the heaviest and best kraut-a-delic music out there.
Although The Oscillation was originally the brainchild of Demian Castellanos, he is now joined full time by the rhythm section of long time cohorts – bassist Tom Relleen and drummer Valentina Magaletti. The Cable Street Sessions gives extra breadth and depth to the rhythm section, allowing their telepathic improvisations to drive a pulsing miasma under Demian Castellanos’s unholy hail of effects. Now you can feel and hear the dynamism of one of the best live bands you might never see.
Features a cover of The Deviants classic – “Somewhere to Go”
Presented in a Mirror Board Sleeve
Release Date 23rd June 2014 on Cardinal Fuzz
I have written before about The Oscillation, and was really looking forward to seeing them at last year’s Liverpool PsychFest. However, for reasons that I’m still not totally sure of I missed them…and I was gutted…and I have remained gutted as each report of their live prowess has reached my ears. They were, apparently brain-fryingly outstanding then, and on the basis of this live sounding EP, this was no fluke.
From what I had heard of the band previously, I have played the likes of Liquid Memoryman (from the Out of Phase album) and Telepathic Birdman (from the Veils album) a great deal and had them down as being on the dance/ electronica side of psych, very much in a krautrock vein but with Clash-style reggae vibes mixed in.
The Cable Street Sessions show a different side to The Oscillation, a heavy psych side which certainly shares its DNA with what I have heard before, but much bigger and more guitar based and includes a great cover of The Deviants’ ‘Somewhere To Go’. The opener. ‘All You Want To Be’, is sodden with fuzzy guitars swirling round a rhythm section which beats out the sort of repetitive alert that, in the 50s, might have signified the beginning of a nuclear conflict. ‘Corridor’ is slower, heavier and relentless; a huge slab of psych that burrows its way into your brain, opens out and spawns all sorts of freaky stuff into it.
‘Somewhere To Go’ is quite faithful to the original. Going back to The Deviants version I find it quite astounding that this track was made in the late 60s because it sounds so fresh and contemporary. A mark, probably, both of the forward thinking of the band, and the current psych revival. At any rate, The Oscillation have done us a favour in reviving the track and giving it a new lease of life.
‘Descent’, with its post-rock beginnings, slithers along like a serpent gliding through the souk as it develops a Middle Eastern drone amidst oscillating synths. It’s a jam that is just short of nine minutes and ends this all too brief trip around the collective mind of The Oscillation.
Finally a word on the cover. It is beautiful and will be going on display in the one corner of my lounge that Mrs Delic lets me have as my own (replacing the classic Ella and Louis cover which has been up for a while now). There are not many covers which are deemed worthy of such an honour but I’ve got no hesitation about this one. I’ll have to make sure the record is properly protected, although I doubt it’ll be off my turntable much anyway.
The Oscillation may well be the classic sound of psych these days as their liquid sound and reverbed vocals takes in influences from Can and Pink Floyd and merges it with the drone like Spacemen 3’s classic sound. It’s a sound copied by a lot of bands in the genre and can be prone to criticism for lack of originality.
Not with The Oscillation though who have steadily been creating some of the most exciting and hallucinogenic music of the last few years. Their sound may link back to those greats of the past but they also build on it and make it into something much more. These session tracks offer a glimpse into a wider future for the band too where they start to create their own sound and become standard bearers of this new psych movement.
Only four tracks long, this mini album bears repeated listens and the true magic comes through as it seeps through the speakers at full volume. Like some liquid Pompeii displayed in fantastic oil lamps, the music melts over you as you succumb to a krautrock rhythm lifted by moments of spaced out madness.
All that is just on the first song ‘All You Want To Be’ which clatters along as a thumping bass underlines the spaced out sounds. Demian’s vocals drift into the mix as an unrecognisable mantra before the music takes off again and the beat picks up.
‘Corridor’ is more of the same with garage ethic drifting in over the more lysergic aspects of the song and a more expansive sound brings in a cinematic feel to the music. Like some end of the world psych out, it has all the hall markings of the scene and is the closest to Spacemen 3 that they get without falling into simple pastiche.
A cover of The Deviants ‘Somewhere To Go’ is simply unhinged as all hope of finding some grounding in the music disappears. Almost post punk in it’s delivery, there are shades of dub and punk throughout which add yet another element to an expansive palette. One that now is miles away from your generic psych act.
There has to be the obligatory wig out on any self respecting psych release and final track ‘Descent’ certainly doesn’t let you down with it’s out there spaced noises swirling around a forbidding bass line which wouldn’t be out of place on the latest Cult of Dom Keller album. It’s a dark piece of work which displays its black heart in all it’s throbbing glory and will sound tremendous live.
Cable Street Sessions is a fine addition to The Oscillation catalogue but more than anything it has been a success in bringing in a rhythm section and working to a live sound. The future looks even more promising now and as an experiment it is a success. As a set of songs on a mini album it is also undoubtedly a perfect introduction to one of the finest new psych bands around and one worthy of attention from a larger crowd. We can rest assured that after this seasons festivals have done their rounds The Oscillation are going to be sitting pretty at the top of the pack and deservedly so.
Reviewed by Nathan Ford
Following on from last year’s excellent “From Tomorrow”, comes this essential companion piece to that second full length. Where “From Tomorrow” dwelt in a swirl of effects laden psychedelia, and was very much a carefully planned and layered record, “Cable Street Sessions” is a live in studio effort that goes a long way towards demonstrating the life that these songs take on in front of an audience.
I’m generally not a fan of live albums. That’s a sweeping statement, and there are (numerous) exceptions of course, but I often find live albums to be label product, full of weak facsimiles of the studio material, played faster, with more guitar solos and weak vocals. “Cable Street Sessions” proves to be one of these exceptions, with three of “From Tomorrow”s key songs revisited, and an inspired Deviants cover. While Demian Castellanos still pays noticeable attention to his pedal board, there’s an extra propulsion here provided by the crack rhythm section of Tom Relleen and Valentina Magaletti, that when combined with the sparser production, gives these tracks an added push that is pleasingly at odds with the lysergic undertow of their album counterparts. “All You Want To Be” is an infectious opener that filters their krautrock impulses through a squall of Spacemen 3 guitar, complete with an ominous, hypnotic pulse, while the Deviants “Somewhere To Go” is an inspired choice of cover, and fits the Oscillation’s temperament like a glove.
While a four track E.P might sound like a fairly brief offering, the intensity of the lengthy performances contained therein makes for a fairly exhausting affair, which I suspect would be diluted if drawn out. Short but sweet, this paints the Oscillation in an entirely different, but complimentary light to their albums – one which will please existing fans, and likely draw in a few who didn’t have the patience to pierce the lysergic fog of “From Tomorrow”.