Gabriel Pureco, better known as “PsychCloned” – a name taken from his online gaming avatar, and inspired by the character Wukong from League of Legends – was born in Mexico City, Mexico, but has been living in the United States since he was a baby, and has spent most of his life in North Carolina. Technically, PsychCloned started dabbling in music production back in 2018 when he and some friends embarked on an ambitious project to create a video game. Though he had taken to playing drums during high school in 2011, and even joined a cover band in college. However his journey as a serious musician and producer, started in February 2020, during the pandemic.
Since February 2020 and after reading and watching countless articles, guides, videos, and books on music theory and music production, PsychCloned has released three albums: ‘Melodrama’ (June 2020), ‘Tumultuous’ (October 2020), and ‘Sakura’ (March 2021) as well as two singles, ‘Time Skip’ (June 2021) and ‘Reach for the Stars’ (July 2021). All of which leads to his stunning latest album ‘Showtime’.
Writing an album like this takes talent, time, and effort. It’s obvious that PsychCloned has managed to create an uncanny chemistry between the real studio musicians who helped to complete this album. That in itself is something hard to come in a set of musicians who are not a stable band. Hear the dueling guitar leads, keyboards, basslines and drums, on “Breaking The Limit”, for one of the best examples of this.
PsychCloned draws on many sources in his music, and especially on elements from progressive rock, symphonic and cinematic rock, as well as neo-classical metal. I enjoyed pretty much every aspect of ‘Showtime’. Compositionally, every song is very strong and it’s obvious that they weren’t just written on the fly. And while serious focus is given to melody and layered complexity, there is plenty of time allowed for bone-crushing guitar riffs, and explosive drum patterns.
The album starts off in a mellow and nuanced way with plenty of piano and acoustic guitar motifs, leading the way on ‘Reach For The Stars’, and the title track ‘Showtime’, which are also awash with cascades of strings and resonant horns. ‘Runaway Heist’ starts to lift the tone of the album, and increase its gritty rock intensity, with crunchy overdriven guitars and thick rolling basslines propelled by dynamic drums. The track also features a dominant jazz-fusion section which adds an extra dimension to the song.
On ‘Showtime’ it’s the more elaborate numbers that truly steal the show, and the euphoric and abrasive ‘Lunar Eclipse’ and ‘Breaking The Limit’ are exercises in twisting polyrhythms, and frenzied momentums, where each instrument is a laser-sharp thread woven together into an aggressive sonic tapestry that grinds, churns and melts into a rush of ear candy. These are the best back to back songs on the entire album, in my opinion, if you’re looking for an adrenaline shot.
‘Dreamer’ is another superb arrangement, which plays magnificently on the loud-soft aesthetic, while PsychCloned infuses its core with a rich palette of piano-driven melody. ‘Floating With The Clouds’ is the sound you expect from reading the title. Lush keys and shimmering clean guitars poignantly guide the track, as it meanders and morphs into a gorgeously fleshed out soundscape.
The album closer “Summer Jam” completely rewrites the complex sonic templates used thus far on the album, as PsychCloned concocts a loose, playful groove, with strummed acoustics and Latin-influenced percussion for a last afternoon on the beach. It makes a relaxing wind-down from the ultra-technical and highly elaborated tunes that came before it.
Overall, there is nothing mediocre or boring about this album. Every track on ‘Showtime’ is unique and special in its own way, and a very high energy and technical level is maintained throughout. This sounds pretty much like PsychCloned’s finest hour, so far.