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Psychic Equalizer: The Sixth Extinction

The previous Psychic Equalizer album was an ambitious project where the emergence of a young adult’s social and world conscience as they aged into ‘grown up’ adulthood was explored through music. The man behind what was, in the end, a rather wonderfully realised project was Hugo Selles, a composer, producer and piano player who has now turned his attention to The Sixth Extinction - namely our own self imposed exit from the very planet we inhabit.

Again this is a vast project and one that is tackled through, for long spells, instrumental music, although on this occasion India Hooi - who is also credited as sound engineer and multi-instrumentalist, adds a good proportion of vocals, although some of these fall into the wordless variety. From the off it’s clear once more that Psychic Equalizer are not seeking to do things the easy way, with classical guitar and voice piercing through strings and a surprisingly strident beat. Hooi immediately makes good comparisons to Kate Bush, with her wide range and innate ability to make deep notes resonate as they kick hard in the gut. From there Selles adds grand piano into the mix as he opens up the introductory track’s fourth or fifth branch of attack.

With a strong sound and the willingness to add twin guitars to this already heady mix, the journey has begun, with the title track following in similar style. Church organ and choirs toying with a Pink Floyd like guitar chime as the grandiose nature of much of this album falls back in on small and intricate passages for balance. The short instrumental “Red List” plays again to the album’s more classical side but in reality this is a censor for this album’s charge towards the line as “Fly And Free” falls almost in Keane territory through its catchy pop-prog-lite piano positioning. From there the two part (or thirteen part, depending on how you view it) “Wilderness (I-VIII) and (IX-XIII)” become the album’s central pieces; Oriental moods playing against Asian chanting and dark asides, as guitars build and fall, careen and crash, boom and bust. Jazz comes into play, before it’s fusioned into a more progressive base and, again, classical aspects are led by grand piano and strings. There’s no denying that we’re flying dangerously close to ‘and the kitchen sink’ territory here, especially as a motif that could be the coda of the James Bond Theme hints and then hides as the at first smoother and then percussively centred second movement kicks into gear. And then by way of resetting the mood, the piano piece “Prelude Op 32 No.10” brings everything to a conclusion. The question being just how, exactly, does all this hang together as one presentation of an album from start to finish? It does, but at times, maybe only just.

Track Listing
1. Lonely Soul
2. The Sixth Extinction
3. Red List
4. Fly And Feel
5. Wilderness (I-VIII)
6. Wilderness (IX-XIII)
7. Prelude Op 32 No.10

Added: December 26th 2019
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: The Sixth Extinction on bandcamp
Hits: 596
Language: english

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