There’s been a noticeable shift in the world of pop music in the last two or three years. It’s as though, through trial and error, we as a public have gradually become more discerning, desiring content of a higher quality that doesn’t relegate itself to the wide plethora of songwriting clichés that all but engulfed commercial radio stations a few short years ago.
I don’t know the mechanics of this change, but what I do know is that each year, pop music is sounding just a bit more palatable than the previous one. If this shift is happening at, for better or for worse, the largest level of music production in the world, then one can only envisage the quality of art being produced at an independent level; this is where an artist like Oscilla comes in.
Oscilla has been hitting the beat pads hard to develop a promising sound, and stands to be one producer who is worth keeping an eye on this year.
Illustrious, textured and pretty as a picture book, the electronic prowess of Oscilla is not a fluke, or even a happy accident: it’s the product of one man’s determination to play his own part in this sonic renaissance. Mike Wills of Adelaide doesn’t seem to have been using this moniker for very long, and though this project still has the telling signs of an emerging, wide-eyed creation, it’s already clear that there’s Wills is making no room for mistakes in the house of Oscilla.
Even in the four months between Wills’ two singles, there’s a world of improvement, signifying a desire to not only reach a point of quality that was arguably already achieved with Colours, but to greatly exceed it. Let’s start with the first of the two. Colours is a throbbing track that, forgiving the more-than-passing resemblance to that of a 2012 Flume cut, did a lot to both establish Oscilla’s place in the electronic community. It is worth noting that Colours worked in some very ‘now’ sounds and ideas; pitch-shifted vocals, ghost kick sidechain, jazzy electronic piano base… definitely not anything we’ve never heard before. But just as you shouldn’t judge a ebook by it’s kindle reviews, you should never judge an electronic artist by his debut single. And boy, am I glad I didn’t.
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Listening to the vast improvements in Wills’ producing on Right Here is like watching metamorphosis right before your eyes. It brought a tear to my eye to witness Oscilla leave the tadpole stage, and begin to develop into a fully formed frog. Compared to Colours, everything about Right Here feels more cohesive, more ambitious and more self-directed than it’s predecessor. From the bounding vocal samples to the brass stabs to the sugarcoated synth work, it’s a luminous track that exhibits the makings of an unflappable, talented producer. Add into the mix a delightful appearance by proficient vocalist Kacee, and you’ve got yourself a sophomore single the quality of which points more towards sophomore album territory.
In what is becoming a veritable stampede of budding young talent, any electronic producer that has no intention of continually improving and impressing does not stand a chance. Oscilla is not one of these producers. The songwriting strides taken between his two singles show that Mike Wills is not settling for good, but for best, and the prospects of what could result of this make me pretty damn excited.
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