Psychic Equalizer is a project of composer keyboardist Hugo Selles. “The Sixth Extinction” is already the fourth studio album. The concept of the album is based on the Pulitzer Prize winning book “The Sixth Extinction (An unnatural history)” written by Elizabeth Kolbert. This journalist wrote a book about a very dark theme ... how man is just as catastrophic as the asteroid that swept the dinosaurs away. In this book, the writer demonstrates that the world is in the midst of a recent man-made Sixth mass extinction, with plants, animals, and other living organisms extinction worldwide in a relatively short period of time. The music on this independent release has elements of progressive rock, jazz, flamenco and Neo-Classical music.
Hugo Selles - piano, keyboards, percussion and backing vocals; India Hooi - vocals and wind instruments; Adrian Ubiaga - keyboards and backing vocals; Carlos Barragan - acoustic, classical and electric guitars; Morton Skott - drums and percussion
Choral parts sung by the Camerata Coral de la Universidad de Cantabria
The album consists out of four normal tracks, the “Wilderness” suite split into two parts and a Prelude of Classical composer Sergei Rachmaninov. The first track “Lonely Soul” has a slow and mysterious opening with vocal parts of singer India Hooi. The subdued atmosphere reminds me a little bit of the band Frequency Drift. After a few minutes the tension is building up with nice melodic guitar and fine piano playing of composer Hugo Selles. This is followed by the title track “The Sixth Extinction”. It has a beautiful Neo-Classical piano opening. The piano is accompanied by wordless vocals. The middle part of this diverse song develops into an uptempo Prog song with temperament but there is also a very beautiful classical part with organ and choral parts and after a nice melodic guitar part the atmosphere of the opening returns. An electronic wave of synthesizer strings brings us seamlessly to the short track “Red List” that includes a beautiful classical guitar part. This flows into the uptempo “Fly and Feel which has again a progressive rock vibe. Halfway the song vocal harmonies give the piece also some pop vibes. As you can read above this album has so far a great diversity in styles. But it is also a consistent album.
The “Wilderness” suite is divided into two parts. First we will listen to segments I -VIII. This part has a slow Neo-Classical piano opening. After this several parts with spoken words follow, parts that have in overall a mellow atmosphere. This is then changing with acoustic and classical guitar parts and beautiful flute melodies. Slowly the tension of the music is building up with aggressive electric guitars and organ. The different musical styles follow each other in rapid succession. There are even Flamenco influences. The last piano segment is a mix of jazz and classical music.
Part two of the “Wilderness” suite includes segments IX-XIII. The opening with the flute and percussion has some South American influences. This is followed by a wonderful and delicate classical piano theme. Then the atmosphere is changing again with electronic new age vibes and a classical vocal part before the music becomes a little bit mysterious. That atmosphere disappears with piano and aggressive guitar parts and ends first in chaos before a drum solo and percussion part ends the suite.
The album comes to an end with an interpretation and performance of the “Prelude opus 32 no.10” of the Classical composer Sergei Rachmaninov the Maestro of the piano. Hugo Selles is showing his skills as a pianist in this beautiful piece. I love those classical influences in Progressive Rock releases because those Classical composers were the progressive artists of their time. Often only honored and acknowledged after their dead. As an open minded music lover I also visit Classical concerts and jazz oriented gigs and are often surprised by the absence of Prog fans at those Classical concerts. This is after all the origin of our beloved music movement.
“The Sixth Extinction” of Phychic Equalizer was my introduction to the music of the band and I am positively surprised. The album is almost too diverse in musical styles but yet the band managed to deliver a consistent album (also in the aspect of quality). As I said before I love the classical influences in the music. In particular the Neo-Classical piano pieces. And with India Hooi the band has a first class vocalist. “The Sixth Extinction” is an intriguing album with a large diversity in musical styles. Highly recommended by progVisions for the open minded music lover.