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Album Review: Madrid (or Suite For The Solitary Contemporary Citizen)
Psychic Equalizer and Hugo Selles
Cover image of the album Madrid (or Suite For The Solitary Contemporary Citizen) by Psychic Equalizer and Hugo Selles
Madrid (or Suite For The Solitary Contemporary Citizen)
Psychic Equalizer and Hugo Selles
2014 / Hugo Selles
28 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Madrid (or Suite For The Solitary Contemporary Citizen) is the second EP released by Psychic Equalizer, following the 2012 debut release, Memories of a Cold Place. Founded by Spanish pianist/composer Hugo Selles, Psychic Equalizer now includes guitarist Quico Duret, from Madrid. While the first album was inspired by the countryside around Selles’ homeland of Cantabria, this second work focuses on the loneliness of living in a big city. This new project incorporates elements of rock and jazz as well as the influence of electronic and ambient music established by the previous album. This five-track EP continues to develop the idea of theme-based recordings and includes additional musicians on violins, viola and cello in addition to Selles on piano, keyboard and percussion and Duret on acoustic and electric guitars. Sometimes smooth and very graceful and sometimes dark and edgy, this is music that tells a story. It should be noted that Psychic Equalizer’s piece, “While You Were There But Not Here” has been nominated by the 2014 Hollywood Music In Media Awards in the New Age/Ambient category.

Madrid (or Suite For The Solitary Contemporary Citizen) begins with the sounds of heavy footsteps walking into a room, the creaking of a chair and then a cough to announce “Here Am I.” The music that follows sounds like it could be an old phonograph record or an old piano playing a bluesy piece - a very intriguing start! “Where Past and Present Collide” begins as a rhythmic piano solo with a swaying dance feeling. The piano continues the beat as guitar takes the melody and keyboards supply background washes. About two minutes in, the intensity increases dramatically. After a frenetic passage, strings enter, but not too smoothly - agitated and intense. As they gradually wind down, the viola comes in with a heart-rending solo before the piano and guitar return with the original dance beat, letting that theme evolve for several more minutes before fading out with a simple keyboard melody. At over 8 1/2 minutes, this piece tells quite a story! “(Interlude) Beholding” is a beautifully ambient piece that suggests solitude and loneliness, growing darker and more mysterious as it develops - great film music! “Gran Via at Sunset” begins as a passionate, bluesy piano solo, gradually building in dynamics and improvisation to a wild explosion of sound. As the piece quiets and other instruments are added, subtle street sounds are also included - another amazing bit of musical storytelling. “Epilogue) Walking Alone” is a fascinating duet for electric guitar and keyboard with lots of reverb for atmospheric effect. Very dark and moody, it just sort of trails off at the end.

Psychic Equalizer is definitely one of the more interesting musical projects out there, and I’m sure we’ll be hearing much more from them! Madrid (or Suite For The Solitary Contemporary Citizen) is available from iTunes and hugoselles.com. Recommended!
June 2, 2014
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