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HOLOGRAM

Clepsydra

Neo-Prog


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Clepsydra Hologram album cover
3.46 | 101 ratings | 11 reviews | 19% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1991

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Sunrise (1:20)
2. New Day (Part 1) (5:11)
3. 4107 (5:12)
4. Fleeting Moment (3:13)
5. Fading Clouds of Time (3:50)
6. Poem For a Rainy Day (2:11)
7. New Day (part 2) (6:13)
8. SandHow (3:17)
9. For Her Eyes (4:41)
10. Steve and Jane (5:19)
11. New Day (Part 3)(2:01)
12. Hologram (7:40)
13. Sunset (1:21)

Total Time: 51:29

Bonus tracks on 2014 remaster:
14. No Place For Flowers (Raw mix) (7:04)
15. Into My Cartoon (Demo) (3:22)
16. For Her Eyes (3:47)
17. The Nineteenth Hole (Live 1998) (8:42)

Line-up / Musicians

- Aluisio Maggini / lead & backing vocals
- Gabriele Hofmann / guitars, keyboards
- Philip Hubert / keyboards
- Andy Thommen / bass
- Pietro Duca / drums

With:
- Marco Zappa / lead guitar (13)

Releases information

Artwork: Ralph Kühne

CD Self-released ‎- CCD 4107 (1991, Switzerland)
CD Galileo Records ‎- GR037 (2014, Switzerland) Remastered with 4 bonus tracks, new cover art

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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CLEPSYDRA Hologram ratings distribution


3.46
(101 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(19%)
19%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(43%)
43%
Good, but non-essential (27%)
27%
Collectors/fans only (9%)
9%
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)
3%

CLEPSYDRA Hologram reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Prog-jester
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars “Hologram” is a debut record by Swiss/Italian band CLEPSYDRA (a cradle of other wonderful bands like SHAKARY and ZENIT, now disbanded as far as I informed :( ). It was warmly greeted by European Prog public in early 90s; musically it is close to early H/late Fish MARILLION (“Clutching at Straws”/”Seasons End” period) – no lengthy tracks, a lot of ballads with astonishing guitar solos, accessible sound and lyrics-oriented music (recording quality is far from high class standards but still listenable). For those who never heard CLEPSYDRA before I’d recommend their “More Grains of Sand” as a start-point. If you dislike it, you can give up your researches: all CLEPSYDRA albums are pretty “samey”, with some minor differences. But for MARILLION devotees this band is an absolute Must.
Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Magnificent,now disbanded,Swiss neo progressive group found in 1989 by the original members of their first album ''Hologram''.This work was released in 1991 and it is obviously built around the style of MARILLION and IQ...yet there is a strong amount of beautiful melodies and thrilling solos in here to make the album more than a remarkable effort!The unique keyboards' atmosphere,the strong guitar lines and the personal vocal style of singer Aluisio Maggini makes them quite original....Mostly short songs with a typical song-format,but CLEPSYDRA seem to be the top band in this kind of catchy progressive rock.A fantastic debut for fans of lyrical and emotional progressive rock!
Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars I guess that Swiss bands are like Belgian ones. Very scarce in rock as well as in prog music. But once in a while, there is one shining; like "Clepsydra".

Their lead vocalist has a very identifiable tone of voice. Together with Gabriele Hofmann who is playing guitar, these are the two strong points of this band. The music is very accessible (which might irritate some of you) and extremely melodic. The closest comparison IMHHO is "Pendragon".

It is true that I wouldn't listen to three of their albums in a row, because it lacks in variety but if you feel like sitting back, relax and get some brilliant guitar play "Clepsydra" is a good recipe. Not from the greatest chef but from decent cooks. Beautiful and optimistic music.

Most numbers are on the mellowish mood, even if "Facing Clouds of Time" is rocking jolly good. But as if the band would like to be excused for this, they propose a short, peaceful and acoustic instrumental number (Poem for a Rainy Day) to compensate this "wildness".

If ever you are guitar driven, you will experience some great moments while listening to this album. Almost each track features one of these : but only short ones because there are no epics in their work (even if "Fears" will hold some longer tracks).

Some influence of "Watcher" to start "Sandflow" which is an emotional instrumental. For the first time, it is almost exclusively under the keyboards command.

If this album has no real weak number, it doesn't feature a real highlight either. The music of "Clepsydra" is to consume moderately. Once in a while, their album will provide an enjoyable musical break but I can't say that they are very original. "Steve & Jane" having some links with "Mockingbird" from "BJH".

One reproach is for sure that while you listen to this album in its entirety, you could be a bit bored by its uniform sound. But this is "Clepsydra" offering throughout their whole work. Three stars for their debut one.

Review by kenethlevine
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog-Folk Team
4 stars This debut by Clepsydra fully establishes their approach to songwriting and arranging. Like any hologram, it involves three dimensions, in this case, uniquely emotional vocals, hypnotic keyboards, and heart stopping melodic lead guitars swirl about each other. While very vocal oriented, the Clepsydra sound rarely follows a strict verse, chorus, verse, chorus, break, verse chorus approach. Even though not all that much variation exists between songs, and in some ways they remain interchangeable after multiple listens, Hologram provides a veritable feast for those that love the style.

While all the songs are good, the downside is that the production is somewhat muddy compared to subsequent efforts. Still, Gabriele Hoffman's leads are up front enough to match the feeling produced by Camel's "Drafted" from "Nude", and that is high praise indeed. So it's really hard to pick out a highlight, but "New Day Part 1" is particularly stirring, and "Steve and Jane" shows how romantic Clepsydra can be.

While I would not recommend Hologram as a place to start your exploration of this late lamented group, if you have enjoyed their later albums, you will find that, like a hologram, this one is pretty close to the real deal.

Review by progrules
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This debut by Clepsydra has never been my favourite album. The brilliant and outstanding band they appeared to be with their next three wasn't really coming through with this one. But I will give it a fair review because I owe it to this band that has been an important one in my life I can say after all these years.

Hologram is a typical neo album, more than the other three that went slightly in a symphonical style, let's say a band in between neo and symph. After a short overture New Day (part one) is proving my statement, neo example no.1, can't think of a better one. This song reminds me of Dutch band Differences, same guitar sound and apparantly same production quality because it sounds so much the same, but this is not really a compliment because production is at best mediocre. Funny enough another similarity with Differences is the obscure way they show themselves in the booklet with a very vague photograph where Differences even had covered eyes as if the neobands in the early nineties were too shy to show themselves. Interesting aspect. 4107 begins to sound a little bit like their latter impressive style but this one still sounds a bit shy. Fleeting Moments is a mediocre track followed by Fading Clouds of Time sounding much more impressive as a composition, well played with spirit. Poem for a rainy day is what the title suggests a sort of small poem (instrumental ballad). New Day (pt.2) is better than part one, another example that this band was already showing potential, how I love this band when they play songs like this, 100% my taste ! Sandflow is the second instrumental track but this one is a bit heavier than the first. For her Eyes is an average Clepsydra track, good but not excellent. Steve and Jane is a ballad with lyrics this time, a song somewhat like the shorter songs on their album Fears again not quite one of my big fav's but not really bad either. Third part of New Day is a sort of instrumental intermezzo before the title track and second highlight for me is a bit of the grand finale of the album because the closing instrumental is a very short one.

Conclusion: a good and promising album but not coming close to the other three for me and that's not just due to mediocre production quality. The compostions also had to mature after this debut to be able to call them a great and professional band. So if you start with this album to check the band out this information is essential. Taking all four is in that case a good advice. If you already have the other three then this is more for completionists. Still give it three stars.

Review by The Crow
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars The debut of one of my favourite Neo-Prog bands!

This guys from the italian part of Switzerland managed to release four albums before their break in 2002, after having recorded the beautiful and heart-touching "Alone". "Hologram" was their first album, and it has their most classic line-up, with the wonderful Lele Hoffman on guitars, being his contribution essential in the first two albums of the band.

The Clepsydra style is not really surprising... It's just Neo-Prog, int he sytle of the first Marillion albums, Pendragon's "The Jewel", or the albums that IQ released int he mid 80's. But they have some elements that make their music special... The first one is a tremendous love for the guitar solos, wich are maybe the most typical element of the band. Lele Hoffman was able to build really beautiful melodies with his guitars, although the sound if it is oddly distorted. He did it even better in "More Grains of Sand", but a big part of the interest of the songs in "Hologram" is to hear the Lele's guitar solos.

Maybe the other most distinctive element of the band, ist he Aluisio Maggini's voice, wich has a very strong italian accent... This can be a bit annoying to some people, but I think it makes the band's sound more personal. For me this band would not be the same without this passionate man singing the lyrics in english just like Roberto Benigni in the Oscar ceremony!

The rest of the band is also excellent, showing their skills thanks to a surprisingly good production for being the debut of a litlle and unknown prog band... Like I said, "Hologram" is pure 80's Neo-Prog, maybe a bit more dramatic and more sober than the usual albums of this style, but without real surprises. It's also far from the diversity and complexity of "Alone" or "Fears", being this the bigger fault of the album... It's a big repetitive in my opinion. It's not boring at all, but sometimes I miss more variety between the tracks. With honorable exceptions like the beautiful ballad For Her Eyes, the acoustic Poem for a Rainy Day, and SandFlow, a track wich remembers me a lot to Vangelis.

Best tracks: New Day Part 1 (a trademark's Clepsydra track, with the typical Lele's guitar solo...), Fading Cloud of Time (a rockier track, in the sytle of the great Fly Man of "More Grains of Sand"...), Fore Her Eyes (I really LOVE this beautiful song... Despite the silly lyrics, is one of the most beautiful Clepsydra's songs. Another marvellous Lele Hoffman work) and Hologram (the longer and proggier song of the album)

Conclusion: a very good debut album of one of the most special Neo-Prog band that have ever existed... It has not so many good songs like the following and similar "More Grains of Sand", and it's also far form the complexity and diversity of "Alone" and the equally excellent "Fears", but it really deserves a good listening, specially if you are into 80's Neo- Prog, style of wich "Hologram" is a very trustworthy exponent.

My rating: ***

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Ear Candy Prog ...

Since the emerging symphonic prog movement or I called it as a second generation of prog where at that time the classic prog like King Crimson, Yes, Genesis and the like was in a decline in terms of public taste and then came into the scene new born bands carring the prog flag with simpler music through names like Marillion, IQ, Pallas, Pendragon, I found the musical characteristics can be categorized into two types:

First, those who take the new generation music called as neo-prog with the sort of dragging keyboard sounds and Floydian guitar solo or I can call them as the "Chelsea Monday"-like kind of music. Chlesea Monday is one song from Marillion's debut album "Script" where the music is quite mellow with Floydian guitar solo. There are many bands that follow this kind of music style, including Clepsydra.

Second, those who really try to emulate the kind of music that Script from Marillion has penned in its entirety including the Chelsea Monday like or the He Knows You Know like or in fact Forgotten Sons like music. It's quite difficult actually to do this second category as only Marillion, IQ and Pallas that can do good job on this. As you know they are all pioneers of neo prog and of course they can do it really well. Look at how Marillion's first four albums can produce this second category music really well, and also IQ still can do it through its latest album "The Road of Bones" where the opening track "From The Outside In" is truly a good representation of He Knows You Know like.

This debut album of Clepsydra is totally falling under the first category is the music flows with all the dragging keyboard sounds and many exploration of Floydian guitar work here and there. It opens beautifully with Sunrise and concludes with Sunset. In between there are arrays of musical journey represented by dragging keyboard work combined with Floydian guitar solo. The melody of the songs contained here are quite good and they flow naturally from start to end. For me personally, it's good in terms of composition as they contain good elements of melody, harmonies and changes in music style - even though quite flat in tempo. That's why I feel bored right in the middle of the album even though the songs are good.

Overall, this is good for those who like long guitar solo performed in mellow style and do not expect something like He Knows You Know or Forgotten Sons .... Keep on proggin' ...!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Hologram is the debut album from this terrific swiss neo prog band that I had hazard here on PA only after they had broken up for quite some time. But I fell for their sound from the get go and got all of their four CDs at once (along with several other groups I was discovering at the time, 2006/7). The bad thing about getting so many albums in one buying is that you tend to focus on the ones that are on the "blow you away" category, and tend to neglect those which do not, So for years I totally loved Fears and Alone, and, therefore, gave little attention to the "lesser ones", More Grains Of Sand and Hologram. Recently I decided to give another try with some CDs that I had not listen for a long time. And I found that those two early Clepsydra works were much better than I initially thought.

I knew that More Grains Of Sand would be great because of the high praising most Clepsydra fans give it, but there was not so much fanfare for their debut. And I understand why: compared to their latter work, Hologram is quite less original and appealing. However, this is far from being bad or even weak. In fact I was surprised to find all the elements of their sound already here, and the strong musicianship and performance of all involved. It is ok that their trademark sound was not quite developed and some of the songs are still "green". Still, the tracks are all at least good, with some very good ones becoming quite popular among fas. I must say that my opinion about this CD (and More Grains Of Sand) may be influenced by the remastered CDS released in 2014, which gave them a clearer and brighter sound that fits perfectly to their sound and kind of "fix" the not so good original production.

Now you can hear Gabriele Hoffman guitar solos with all their mighty power, Phillip Hubert subtle keyboards are more on the fore and Andy Thomen bass is also more audible. The only not so positive aspect of the new production is the drums, a little too compressed that make it sounds a little artificial, but nothing that spoils the overall greatness of their sound. The only reason I don´t rate Hologram four stars is because the songwriting is not as spectacular as their latter output. It is good, as I mentioned before, but they would get much better from More Grains Of Sand onwards. So, 3,5 stars is a fair rating.

I was really happy to rediscover this CD, that is very pleasant, melodic and well made. Clepsydra´s debut was very promising indeed and, thankfully, they ended up more than fulfilling that promise. And I am even happier that they came back recently with a powerful new album. I don´t think I would recommend Hologram for a newbie, but if you already know their latter output, then listening to this one will give some good moments too. They started with the right foot.

Latest members reviews

3 stars THE START OF AN AMAZING CAREER And i´m not sure if its already ended because we haven´t had a recording since 2002. Anyhow, this was the 1st album from this extraordinary Swiss band which always was compared to the big names in Neo Prog like Marillion, Pendragon, Collage or Satellite; and it´ ... (read more)

Report this review (#131437) | Posted by FranMuzak | Thursday, August 2, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Clepsydra took their name from an ancient egyptian time measuring device, which worked on water (and not from a venerous disease as I first associated the name with many moons ago. lol). The collective from Lugano Schwitzerland hit the bullseye with their first release. Hologram is a fine a ... (read more)

Report this review (#39327) | Posted by tuxon | Wednesday, July 13, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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