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Clepsydra - Hologram CD (album) cover





3.47 | 107 ratings

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4 stars Prog from Switzerland! Who knew!? The miraculous thing about this album, these musicians, is that they purposely chose progressive rock! In 1991!

1. "Sunrise" (1:20) the opening of a bookend pair with the finale, "Sunset," church bells chime as bass, distant drums, single plucked guitar chord and keys rise and kick into full gear before searing electric guitar ends the song. (4.25/5)

2. "New Day (Part 1)" (5:11) piano opens before Aluisio joins in singing in a relaxed, as if tired, voice. The second verse is joined by synth strings as Aluisio perks up, switching up an octave, singing with much more force and clarity. Drums and bass join in for the "time pass me by" chorus before launching into the guitar-led instrumental section. Keys do a very reserved solo as drums play beneath until sax-like guitar returns at the 3:00 mark to signal time to slow down again for Aluisio to sing, starting low and tired before quickly jumping into his more urgent pleading voice. Another melodic guitar solo finishes it off. Nice song. (8.75/10)

3. "4107" (5:12) typing on an old manual typewriter as typist recites that which he is typing. Low bass note, glockenspiel synth arpeggio and drums form spacious support to Aluisio's plaintive vocal. Electric guitar takes the lead at the end of the second minute and into the third before slowing to play arpeggiated chords. Then the music shifts for keyboard play before Gabriele takes the lead again at 3:00. Nice horn-like METHENY-ish guitar tone (in the upper registers). (8.5/10)

4. "Fleeting Moments" (3:13) opens softly, sounding like Steve Hogarth on Marillion's Marbles. Aluisio's sensitive voice in the second minute is so heart-breakingly fragile and vulnerable! What a vocalist! (9/10)

5. "Fading Clouds of Time" (3:50) opens with slow emotional electric guitar lead over synth strings until 0:54 when piano, bass and drums kick into gear. Vocals join in with a STARSHIP, JOURNEY or even BON JOVI type of sound. Song alternates soft spacious sections with full, uptempo, power chord sections while ending with a slower section for an electric guitar solo. (7.75/10)

6. "Poem For a Rainy Day" (2:11) stairway footsteps and child's voice preempt this electrified acoustic guitar lullaby. Some synth support and the addition of a classical guitar in the second minute. Nice. (There are no words to this "poem.") (4.5/5)

7. "New Day (part 2)" (6:13) up and down, as the previous version, from soft and spacious to loud and bombastic. Still, Aluisio's voice can almost win me over no matter what else is going on around or beneath him--and this is one of his finest performances on the album. Also one of the best chord progressions and electric guitar solos. (9.25/10)

8. "Sandfow" (3:17) general train station restaurant conversation, dishes noises, and PA announcements lead into a cymbal and synth supported electric guitar solo. The chorus-delayed sound of the guitar is cool. At 1:35 drums kick in and band amps up to announce their presence for a few seconds before backing down to leave a really cool, almost eerie spacious soundscape. Electric guitar eventually steps into the void with a melodic bluesy solo to the end. (5/5)

9. "For Her Eyes" (4:41) CURE-like electric guitar and electric piano open this one until Aluisio enters around the half- minute mark. The song becomes standard rock ballad support, still sounding like THE CURE though also WHITESNAKE and other 1980s hairbands. (8.5/10)

10. "Steve and Jane" (5:19) synth wash, electric piano and Aluisio open this one. Despite indications that it's going to get loud and heavy, the boys show restraint and stay quiet for the first 90 seconds. Then there is shift as a fast- picked guitar arpeggio chord sequence triggers some latent power from the keys (orchestra hits). When Aluisio returns, the music beneath is still defining itself. The keys definitely get much more prominence on this one that the rest of the album. (8.5/10)

11. "New Day (Part 3)" (2:01) opens sounding like airport/spaceport music before electric piano enters. At 1:00 synth strings form support for electric guitar to solo over. Nice brief emotional melodic solo. (4.75/5)

12. "Hologram" (7:40) Aluisio singing over amplified classical guitar turns proggy after the first minute with the arrival of drums, bass and keys. What a voice. He makes it sound so effortless! A shift at 2:45 leads to more theatric storytelling approach from Aluisio before the band kicks in and jumps forward. What sounded like they were going full SCORPIONS turns instead to something more spacious like COLLAGE. The instrumental jam we thought was coming several times before starts, in part, at 5:45 as Gabriele solos over the churchy organ and gated drums--into a long, slow fade out. (13/15)

13. Sunset (1:21) reprise of the opening song with full band engaged from opening and electric guitar doing an aggressive rock solo from the start, then ending with church bells. (4.25/5)

Total Time: 51:29

B/four stars; a nice addition to any prog lover's music collection and recommended for anyone interested in hearing a truly gifted male vocalist.

I have to report that I do prefer the original sound over the "remaster." I've never been a fan of gated or compressed drums--one of the biggest mistakes Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins ever made. It's also too bad that the 1990s had to deal with such poor, cheap sounding keyboard sounds from the plethora of everybody-can-afford cheap keyboards coming out at the time. We're still paying for it to this day with some bands that refuse to let go of those cheap old things. Overall, there is just a lot of music here that sounds as much "Prog-Wannabe" or "Near Prog" as Neo Prog.

BrufordFreak | 4/5 |


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