More then ten years ago (1991) the first album "Hologram" of the Swiss band Clepsydra was released. On the cover of the first CD pressings (1500 pieces) was a real Hologram of an object of artist HR. Giger attached. It was something special. Not only the cover but also the music of this band was special. The band had the following members at that time: Aluisio Maggini, Lele Hofmann, Philip Hubert, Andy Thommen and Pietro Duca. Right from the start the band had their own sound, which would be refined and polished with each following release. Clepsydra was started as a project but after the discovery by the progscene it became a band. Their output so far: 4 CD's in ten years! Not a hugh output, but each album is a little gem. Their second effort "More grains of sand" was released in 1994. With this album they stole the hearts of the prog/sympho lovers. The melodic guitar solos of Lele Hofmann are played with such an emotion and passion, that they are bringing you chicken goose and tears into your eyes. Lele left Clepsydra to work together with Scandy on the Shakary ("Alya") project (right now at this moment he is finishing the second Shakary album "The last summer"). Clepsydra found in Marco Cerulli a good replacement for Lele. And in 1997 they released the third album "Fears". In my opinion one of the best albums of that year. And again the fans had to wait for four long years on its successor. Just before the ending of the year 2001 their fourth album "Alone" came on the market. Just in time to confuse all the progfans who where working on their top 10 list of the year 2001. An album with three different covers, but the music is the same. The band is asking us with this concept album, "Are you living like an Octopus, a Chicken or a Fish?" Andy Thommen has his own band with Zenit now and has been replaced by bass player Nicola De Vita.
So Clepsydra has now the following musicians:
Aluisio Maggini - Vocals, Marco Cerulli - Guitars, Philip Hubert - Keyboards, Nicola De Vita - Bass, Pietro Duca - Drums.
reviewWith the help of Philip Hubert I will try to explain the concept of the album:
The album was born from thoughts that came out on a single evening ( "Tuesday night" - tracks 1/2/3) where you start travelling with your mind ( "Travel of dream" - tracks 4/5/6) and suddenly you realize that no matter where you look at, the loneliness is the most present feeling you have. The main theme represents the consciousness to be human: by far not perfect, mortal and "alone".
The album opens with "Tuesday night" (tracks 1/2/3). In the first track we hear guitar, bass and drums on a broad bed of fat keyboard layers. Those broad keyboards in front of the very transparent mix are representative for the whole album. Track two shows us that the typical Clepsydra sound is still intact and is developed with further refinements. Aluisio Maggini, who wrote for the first time the complete lyrics for this concept, has still that Swiss/Italian accent when he sings the English lyrics. Sometimes his pronouncement is completely wrong but I think it has also a kind of charm. He brings the concept with his lyrics in a great way and with lots of passion. Track three has that typical Clepsydra guitar solo with a lot of emotion. The keyboard sounds of Philip Hubert are really fantastic. A great opener of the album. But you have to listen very carefully to hear where one track ends and the other begin. The music of the album is recorded as one piece of music, a real concept album. The next song "Travel of dream" (track 4/5/6) also exists out of three tracks. A quite opening with piano but the first track develops into a typical Clepsydra song with a lot of emotion. Track 5 has delicious melodic guitar pieces combined with the already mentioned keyboard sounds of Philip Hubert. "Travel of dream" has a lot of variation with the combination of synths, piano, electric and acoustic guitars in the same song. Nicola De Vita and Pietro Duca are forming a nice rhythm section. Newcomer De Vita has a very nice bass sound. In "The return" (track 7) Marco Cerulli is playing an acoustic guitar, which is combined with delicate and melodic keyboards. This track is more or less a ballad. Marco is developing in a more all-round and better guitar player. I would love to hear his acoustic solo album. Next is "The father" (track 8) and this piece has also very tasteful and melodic keyboard solos. The title track "Alone" (track 9/10) has lyrics that could be written especially for me, one of the many people who are now recovering from a broken relationship: " about the people / that matter to you / don't try to find a way to love them / it should be natural, like recognizing / your brother far away from home " In track 10 are some delicious melodic guitar parts and a great solo in the end. "The nest" (track 11) is about family and has beautiful lyrics. I don't want to tell you each time the same old story, just another great Clepsydra song. In "God or beggar" (track 12) the main theme returns and Marco is playing one of his finest solos. The album ends with "End of Tuesday" (track 13) one of the best pieces of this concept album.
The first and last tracks of the album are the best ones in my opinion. They have the most variation and power. In the middle section of the album the pressure is a little bit gone. You can look at this fourth Clepsydra album in two different ways. Some people will say it is mainly the same Clepsydra sound and not much has changed. But I think this album is the best album they made so far. The sound is more refined and the band sounds very mature. I like the broad keyboard layers of Philip. He creates some beautiful atmospheres on this album. This album is a must for lovers of keyboard-drenched prog. And Marco has made a big progression with his guitar playing. On the previous albums where songs which existed out of some Clepsydra music combined with a great guitar solo. But on "Alone" the guitar is a part of the complete composition. The Clepsydra sound is more developed and refined. "Alone" counts more than one hour of music, has no pauses, but you never will get bored. There are no weak moments on this album. Maybe Aluisio pronounced the lyrics better on "Fears" but on "Alone" he brings his own lyrics with great passion and emotion. For me it is one of the best albums of the year 2001.
[I don't tell you yet which album is my number one. You will have to wait for the publication of the progVisions "best album of 2001" lists, probably in our next update!]