Charlie and the Oscillator – Musical Emergency Evacuator Kit (Big Unit)

Charlie and the Oscillator – Musical Emergency Evacuator Kit (Big Unit)

The second album from the London-based duo sees them showing just how much fun you can still have with a record collection. Over the course of thirteen tracks and forty-five minutes, Charlie And The Oscillator bring together breakbeats, synths and samples to create a wonderfully eccentric alternative-ish electronic dance music. Music for the dancefloor? Some of the time. but at other times something to sit in a darkened room with and enjoy.

Using samplers isn’t new, of course, but when it’s presented in a way that’s as fresh and exciting as this, with humour and style, it’s something worth shouting about. ‘Juggling Chickens‘ is a case in point. It is a bonkers as its title suggests, imagine a British rapper meeting an update of the Avalanches‘ ‘Frontier Psychiatrist‘ (ask your parents). There are unlikely to be many tracks this year that will make you want to do chicken impressions as much as this one will, no doubt unnerving those who witness you doing this without knowing the reference. Shaun Rivers‘ rap is the cherry on the top – but maybe don’t play it in front of the more prudish members of your circle.

Of course, what the best track is on here seems to change on an almost minute by minute basis. Could it be the urban paranoia filtered through trip-hop sound of ‘Abandoned?’ Or the classic TV show theme remixed by a 90s stadium dance act of Ahhhhh? (I’ve just checked, there really are five ‘hs’ in the title). Or ‘Time To Fly‘ which is like listening to a 1960s psychedelic track and discovering that there was a band who invented a baggy dance indie sound a generation before it was previously thought, even if the album has only just arrived. Maybe Doctor Emmet Brown was right about the dangers of time travel…

Sure there are precedents, from across the world of those who have similar-ish things before. But when you hear the finished result, you will understand that it simply doesn’t matter, because these guys have produced an album that belongs aside DJ Shadow‘s Endtroducing and the aforementioned Avalanches’ Since I Left You. The tracks manage to stand on their own, and yet even when in complete contrast to the track that’s just finished playing, it all hangs together.

God knows how they’ve managed to pull this off, but they have. Each successive play of this album reveals something new. You’ll want this for your headphones, for a party and a decent journey when you can listen to a whole album without interruptions. Too good to just be an underground secret!

[embedded content]

Back to top