Gig Review: The Oscillation (Psychmare Before Christmas) – 19.12.13 @ Soup Kitchen

By Matt Butler

You’d be forgiven for thinking that The Oscillation are just another contemporary British band with a penchant for shoegazing caught up in this year’s swirling current of neo-psychedelia. However, despite their familiar sound, this three piece band are in fact 3 albums deep, having released their first record, Out Of Phase, back in 2007. Their most recent effort, From Tomorrow, quietly surfaced this year to reasonable critical acclaim and sees the band maintaining their singular experimental mannerisms which set them astride from their peers. The Oscillation are certainly not spearheading the increasingly popular neo-psych movement, but they slot in excellently alongside more popular contemporary noise created by bands such as TOY, Hookworms and Wooden Shjips.

The Oscillation were part of Psychmare Before Christmas, a 3 act show in the basement of the Northern Quarter’s Soup Kitchen. This is the sophomore year for the late-night event which combines live music with DJ sets and alluring visual projections. Featuring on the bill alongside The Oscialltion were Manchester bands Kult Country and Base Ventura. The former have been kept busy doing the rounds supporting the likes of TOY and US noise-pop kings Crocodiles. This has firmly established them as ones to watch out for next year, especially in anticipation of the release of their awaited debut album. Base Ventura are a little more obscure, but good sounds are likely to come from them if efforts such as their immersive track, ‘1:52’, continue.

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The Oscillation’s set began with the most minimal of introductions, a theme which was to continue throughout the set, but then crowd interaction is never heavily desired by fans of hypnotic psycheldelia. A crescendo of effects soaked noise led seamlessly into their opening  track, the groovy bass-led ‘No Place To Go’. The band particularly shine out in comparison to other bands of similar ilk due to the dynamism of their rhythm section. The steam-train drumming and sturdy basslines keep the band as tight as you could imagine; this is despite the expressive and artistic guitar noise techniques employed by guitarist and vocalist Demian Castellanos. The crowd were engrossed in the sonic journey created by the band until Demain swapped his guitar for a set of keys on the penultimate track of the set. This switch was accompanied by a slower tempo and more fragile sound which lost some of atmosphere created by an otherwise captivating set. The band swiftly rectified this glitch upon the commencement of the closing track, ’The Corridor’.  This powerful two-part introduction to the bands most recent LP ended in a wall of noise akin to the introduction of the set.

The Oscillation are a band who possess a good deal of psychedelic pedigree and gig acumen. Their experience and development as a band has produced a refined sound which broadcasts well in the live setting. They will perhaps struggle to enjoy success created by their peers due to the more experimental nature of their music, but are a must-see for fans interested in psychedelia.

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