By Edward Willoughby
British-Indian multi-instrumentalist composer, producer and songwriter Neil Athale makes his solo debut with his EP ‘Oscillate’. Featuring four instrumental tracks, this EP is a collection based upon the artist’s work as a film composer. These carpets of sound are very cinematic, simple but effective and are based on piano, strings, electronics blended with heavy beats and found percussive elements.
‘Fabric’ is friendly and inviting, with a melodic piano line that meanders and loops with a quality of clarity and simplicity. With a gentle glowing synth background, the piano develops with each repetition. This track is tender, as it slowly builds with a string section and woody percussion.
A pensive, slow piano melody opens up with a radiating organ timbre in the following track, ‘ This Is Home.’ Ripples of electric guitar and a tight string arrangement emerge, punctuated with brushed percussion. This track conjures up feelings of adolescence and nostalgia, as if it belongs in a coming-of-age film.
Next is ‘Fracture’ which is melancholy and contemplative with its sad, slow piano and synth melody. A contrapuntal cello joins in followed by tentative electric guitar plucks. Finally, urgent strings build to a climax in this song that cycles and builds and then decays.
Finally, ‘Blue to Red’ takes things up a notch with its heavier percussive elements. Beginning with a murmuring backdrop of noise, there is a synth sheen paired with layered strings and a clack of percussion. As the sounds all come into focus, the beat gets more emphatic with a stomping swell of foursquare percussion.
From moment to moment, these tracks flow coherently and sound slick as they exude understated emotion with a deft touch of craftsmanship. Overall this is a pleasant collection of songs though perhaps not compelling enough to be listened to by themselves without a film to accompany. They are no doubt evocative and well executed; they would indeed add great depth and drama to a movie, but fall a little flat as standalone music.