This is The Oscillation’s sixth album, and I don’t remember one that opens quite with the bang of ‘Wasted Space’. The band’s previous outing ‘UEF‘, an LP of two long tracks which really gave Castellanos the space to explore new directions and incorporate new sounds and textures, and has seemingly allowed him to hit re-set to some extent. This has certainly paid off in my opinion as this album feels really tight and focussed and yet also a departure from the album before ‘UEF’, ‘Monographic’.
The opening track, ‘Entity’ blasts out of the speakers as if transported through time from Bowie’s ‘Scary Monsters’ album (my favourite of his if you’re interested). That slightly metallic tone together with a deep funky baseline have me casting my mind back to all those years ago when the great man set sonic thrusters away from the ‘Berlin trilogy’ and on to yet another persona. However, while elements of ‘Entity’ joyfully remind me of that album through there is more to this track. It’s darker and more dysfunctional (deliberately so I imagine), but is a massive dance track all the same, and here you can see Castellanos’s direction towards such as techno on the previous album.
In many ways the same could be said of the title track. ‘Wasted Space’ keeps up the funky tone, allied with darker electronic elements which really give this album it’s atmosphere. Here the joyousness of the beat is given a counterpoint with bleaker tones that match the aim of the album, which is “a meditation on the nature of existence in the face of what can be insurmountable odds”. This is further illustrated by the video released in conjunction with the album, directed by Antonio Curcetti, whose work with Castellanos I have previously featured (here). Castellanos takes up the commentary:
The concept behind the video is about the idea of losing yourself in technology and merging with it. It definitely pursues my previous themes of alienation and feeds them through Antonio’s vision and third eye.
‘Wasted Space’ comes from a technological journey, the same each of us goes through since technology has changed our daily lives. As in David Cronenberg’s Videodrome, where the main character becomes part of the interface and machinery he is investigating, in ‘Wasted Space’ Demian discovers his multi-self through the monitors.
From there ‘Visions of Emptiness’ begins in a somewhat fragmented manner before settling into a trippy rhythm that is far from passive, the beats and swirls of sound add to the meditative nature of the work, taking it away from the much darker shades of ‘Monographic’. After what is a lull, the dance patterns return with ‘Drop’ which I imagine grooving myself stupid to in the right situation. Again the catharsis of the ‘UEF’ album is plain to see as The Oscillation approaches the music which a new level of clarity.
‘The Human Shell’ is a far more considered piece which comes with Castellanos’s hope that:
People will be able to relate to this song. 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.
It is certainly one of those tracks that you can just sit with and let it wash over you, repeat with the fragility that we often feel in our own lives and personalities.
The album finishes with ‘Luminous Being’, which is a long instrumental piece that, to some extent, harks back to the ‘UEF’ album. But even here the sound feels somehow more crystalline, the thought patterns reflected in it somehow more clear. Indeed, there seems to be a lightness of touch here that I’ve not felt to be the case, at least to an extent, on any of Castellanos’s previous works.
‘Wasted Space’, then is for me something of a step forward for The Oscillation project. It is an album that at some points wants you to get up and dance, where as at others you are encouraged to sit and engage in contemplation. It is an album, then, about movement and the senses… and if it is about the nature of existence, for me it is how this is experienced through these media.
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