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ELLESMERE

Symphonic Prog • Italy


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Ellesmere biography
Founded in Rome, Italy in 2014

The band is the project of Roberto VITELLI, bass and guitar player of TAPROBAN.
The album "Les Châteaux de la Loire" was made with special guest John Hackett on flute, Daniel Pomo (RANEST RANE)on drums and percussion, and Anthony Philipps as The Narrator. Vitelli on guitars and Pomo (drums) are joined by Massimo GRECO (guitars), Paolo CARNELLI (keyboards) and Alex MEVI (flute). The music is in the style of early GENESIS and ANTHONY PHILIPPS with the use of classic,acoustic guitar with strings and flute melodies. And not to mention the sound of vintage mellotron can be heard to provide the sound of the 70's.

Bio by rdtprog

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ELLESMERE discography


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ELLESMERE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.94 | 61 ratings
Les Châteaux De La Loire
2015
3.93 | 120 ratings
II - From Sea And Beyond
2018
4.01 | 87 ratings
Wyrd
2020

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ELLESMERE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Wyrd by ELLESMERE album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.01 | 87 ratings

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Wyrd
Ellesmere Symphonic Prog

Review by andrea
Prog Reviewer

4 stars "Wyrd" is the third album by Roman project Ellesmere and was released in 2020 on the independent label AMS Records. To complete the line up and enrich the sound, this time composer and multi instrumentalist Roberto Vitelli (bass, guitar, Moog) gathered around him many prestigious guests such as Mattias Olsson (drums, from Anglagard, and White Willow), Tomas Bodin (keyboards, from The Flower Kings), David Cross (violin, from King Crimson), John Hackett (flute), David Jackson (sax, from Van Der Graaf Generator), Tony Pagliuca (keyboards, from Le Orme), Luciano Regoli (vocals, from Raccomandata con Ricevuta di Ritorno and DGM), Fabio Liberatori (keyboards, from Il Poliedro di Leonardo and the new line up of Reale Accademia di Musica), Fabio Bonuglia (keyboards, Mellotron, Hammond, Moog) and Giorgio Pizzala (vocals). The result is a good mix of vintage sounds, modern prog and jazz rock with a wide range of influences ranging from Yes, King Crimson or Kansas to Transatlantic, The Flower Kings and Spock's Beard.

The wonderful artwork by Rodney Matthews recalls the style of Roger Dean and evokes wondrous stories and epic adventures in fantastic worlds and enchanted woods. The first three tracks are linked together and form an excellent suite. On "Challenge" you can hear the voice of a young warrior leaving his country for new territories crawling with tall tales, myths and stories of haunted spirits and goblins. He's hiding under the cloak of his dreams as the wind blows... "The Eery Manor" is a sparkling instrumental section where John Hackett and David Jackson showcase all their great talent painting disquieting atmospheres and adding vivid touches of colours to the picture with saxes, flutes and other wind instruments. After a long ride through a dark forest on a strange horse among nymphs, friendly dwarves and lurking werewolves you're in sight of a mysterious castle... "Endeavour" ends the first part of the album combining dreamy, pastoral parts and harder passages and could recall every now and again ELP or Van Der Graaf Generator. The warrior relies on his good luck to defy the fate and discover what's hidden behind the walls of the castle...

The second part of the album (or the side B of the LP) begins with "Ajar" and a martial marching beat. Echoes of Delirium III could come to mind. Hardly any sunlight breaks through the dense tree tops of the forest, and the myths surrounding these woods are more fantastical than paranormal. You can imagine hunting Tarkus and other strange creatures all around... However, the only way to know for certain what monsters await around the next bend is to venture out into the darkness yourself...

The long instrumental "Endless" closes the album. There are other surprises along the way that you might never expect to find deep in the woods and so it's no surprise that the surreal world depicted in the art cover could develop a reputation for spooky sounds and ghostly apparitions. Some cinematic passages could recall Ennio Morricone and stir the imagination of the listener and could be the perfect for a fantasy film score...

On the whole, a very good album. Especially recommended to symphonic prog lovers!

 II - From Sea And Beyond by ELLESMERE album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.93 | 120 ratings

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II - From Sea And Beyond
Ellesmere Symphonic Prog

Review by friso
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Had the first Ellemere record been a pure form of seventies-inspired symphonic folk, producer and composer Roberto Vitelli turned to a rather nineties type of neo-progressive on this second album - perhaps a result of the mastering that is quite light on the low-end. Or perhaps of the Rickbacker bass-sound that has never worked in any mix in my humble opinion. The keyboards also sound from that era. Leaving that aside, this is actually a well-made record which I was happy to order on a vinyl (which is also of a great quality). After the atmospheric opening the twelve minute 'Marine Extravaganza' is a great tour the force of atmospheric instrumental neo-progressive with hints at Genesis, ELP, Yes and even King Crimson without sounding like a modern remix of those bands. It also reminded me a bit of the opening track of the Italian classic 'Opera Prima'. The 'open' nineties sounds allows for loud playing without getting a headache as well. 'Runaway' is a dreamy and sentimental neoprog / crossover piece that reminds me a bit of Marillion. The two minute 'Marine Coda' with wind instruments by David Jackson (of VdGG fame) is a really spot-on psychedelic interlude and I hope his role in this project would expend in the future. 'The Schooner' has this heavy melodic organ that sucks you in. Guitarist Keith More (who also played on Arena's 'Solomon') shines brightly here with his melodic rockguitar. This track is side two's answer to 'Marine Extravanganza', though this tracks feel a bit more like a summation of random themes at times - which are all fine by the way. 'Ridge Fanfare' is nice short exciting neo-prog piece. 'Time, Life Again' is another strong piece with some vocals and a fiery guitar solo as a finale. What I like about this record is that it is neo-prog that focuses on instrumental prowess instead of too much of that whimsical song- writing (which no group ever does as well as Marillion anyway). Because of some songwriting inconsistency here and there I'm feeling like a 3,5 stars. Very enjoyable though.
 Les Châteaux De La Loire by ELLESMERE album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.94 | 61 ratings

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Les Châteaux De La Loire
Ellesmere Symphonic Prog

Review by friso
Prog Reviewer

4 stars On the debut of Ellesmere from Italy (a project of Roberto Vitelli) we hear a chamber type of symphonic folk. Or progressive rock without the rock thing. It reminds me of groups like Celeste (also Italian), the classical tracks of Focus and more recently of the Jordsjo sideproject Eldsmark (which I can also highly recommend). The music also reminded me of the lighter parts of Karfagen's 'Echoes From Within Dragon Island' record. You'll hear warm Spanisch guitars, mellotrons, flutes, sounds of nature and some gentle percussion. What I like about progressive rock is its musical story telling and its ability to cast distinct atmospheres in your living room. This record does that very well in a gentle and pleasant way. The concept of that French castle, the beautiful artwork and the well written & coherent symphonic folk match perfectly. The album has some encore's of its main themes and might have well been a single piece. The quality of the vinyl is great and the production sound is also more than average for a small production like this.
 II - From Sea And Beyond by ELLESMERE album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.93 | 120 ratings

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II - From Sea And Beyond
Ellesmere Symphonic Prog

Review by andrea
Prog Reviewer

4 stars "Ellesmere II - From Sea And Beyond" is the second album by Roman project Ellesmere and was released in 2018 on the independent label AMS Records. This time along with the talent of composer and multi instrumentalist Roberto Vitelli (bass, guitar, synthesizers, Moog, Mellotron) we can appreciate the contribute of prestigious guests such as Paolo Carnelli (piano, electric piano, keyboards, Hammond), Robert Berry (vocals), Trey Gunn (Warr Guitar), David Jackson (sax, keyboards), Alan Benjamin (guitar), Brett William Kull (guitar), Danilo Mintrone (Korg Microkorg), Davy O'List (guitar), Keith More (guitar), Marco Bernard (bass) and Daniele Pomo (drums, percussion). The overall sound is richer and more variegated if compared with the debut album and the influence of bands such as ELP, Yes, Kansas or King Crimson is apparent. According to their label website, this is a conceptual work "where every song deals with a different aspect of the complex relationship between man and sea, from man's curiosity and fear towards what is hidden deep inside the sea to the call for adventure and for travelling to the end of the known world and beyond". The album artwork by English painter and designer Colin Elgie tries to depict the musical content...

The first four tracks are linked together and form a long suite. The short opener "Tidal Breath" sets the atmosphere and starts by the sound of the ocean and the gentle breaking of the waves with a calm sea, then an ethereal melody soars like a mermaid chant and leads to "Marine Extravaganza", an excellent, powerful instrumental track that could recall Emerson, Lake & Palmer and contains a quote from King Crimson's "Red". Then "Runaway" tells in music and words of a disquieting dream, a desperate effort to escape from the chase of mysterious men in black, dark shadows of your past haunting you and alrming your senses. The short, nightmarish "Marine Coda" closes the suite with David Jackson's sax in the forefront.

"The Schooner" opens the second side of the album and starts by a sumptuous passage of church-like organ, then the rhythm rises for an adventurous voyage through Poseidon's territory. The sea air is deceptive and you must not rely on your eyes to assess the distances... The title refers to a type of sailing vessel popular on both sides of the Atlantic in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The following "Ridge Fanfare" is another piece in debt with EL&P that seems to invite you to a joyful ride through the waves while the final track, "Time, Life Again", recalls Yes and evokes in music and words the imaginary course of a flying ship flowing forever in time upon the sea, towards the sun, through the fire, in search for an island of peace...

On the whole, a very good album for symphonic prog lovers!

 Wyrd by ELLESMERE album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.01 | 87 ratings

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Wyrd
Ellesmere Symphonic Prog

Review by Dream_Nebula

5 stars This is the first album I have ever heard from Ellesmere and I was very impressed. This album would definitely be in my top 5 albums from 2020. All the music on this album is great and there isn't one bad track. The album starts off with the song Challenge. The track starts with beautiful yet haunting keyboards. At around 2:23 the song picks up and wow! The entire rest song is just fantastic. Great keyboards, drumming. But honestly every instrument on this album is playing masterfully. Challenge goes into the next song The Eary Manor through a wind sound effect which is done very well. The track starts off some haunting flute and piano. This definitely a darker progressive rock album. The Eary Manor is another stunning track on an album filled with stunning tracks. I really enjoyed the guitar on this song as well. The wind effect brings The Eary Manor into Endeavour which makes all the songs feel connected. The album also has repeating themes throughout it which is another way the album feels connected. I really enjoyed the vocals here. Overall Endeavour is another magnificent track by Ellesmere. It blew me away. Ajar is the next song on the album this would probably be my favorite track. But that would be hard to say since every track is pretty much perfect. I really loved the part with the backwards vocals around 4:23. Great track! Now, to end the album we have Endeless. I wish this song was Endless since it is just phenomenal. Wryd by Ellesmere is a masterpiece and a must listen. The album artwork is outstanding too!

Challenge - 4.5/5

The Eary Manor - 5/5

Endeavour - 5/5

Ajar - 5/5

Endless - 5/5

Overall - 5/5

 Wyrd by ELLESMERE album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.01 | 87 ratings

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Wyrd
Ellesmere Symphonic Prog

Review by prog_traveller!!

4 stars Ellesmere is the project of multi-instrumentalist Roberto Vitelli and "Wyrd" is the third album released under this name.

This album represents a true prog force filled with fantastic elements of symphonic, eclectic prog and lots of jazz. The keyboards are at the heart of this album and throughout there are multiple layers of music, so many things are happening at the same time but it's all perfectly put together.

Besides keyboards this piece delivers variety of other instruments. "Challenge" gives fantastic violin parts, "The Eary Manor" starts with a haunting flute and continues throughout, this song also brings great guitar work. "Endeavor" starts little differently, with a great melodic part, but three minutes into the song Hammond announces the madness and then sax comes in.

This entire album is impressive and creative a true symphonic prog ride. All the way trough you can hear duetting and duelling of the instruments and with each listen you can hear something new. It's just enthralling from the first minute to the very last one.

4,5 stars

 Wyrd by ELLESMERE album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.01 | 87 ratings

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Wyrd
Ellesmere Symphonic Prog

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator Heavy / RPI / Symphonic Prog Team

4 stars This is the project of multi-instrumentalist Roberto Vitelli with the help of Tomas Bodin, John Hackett, David Cross, and others. This is pure symphonic prog driven by sumptuous keyboard melodies in the line of the Italian scene and ELP. It's mostly instrumental with a bit of signing. Some songs start with some delicate piano and flute before the pace picks up with all instruments shining providing a lavish symphonic sound. The flute can be very busy at times as the drums playing of Mattias Olsson. The first 3 tracks are flowing together by the sound of the wind in the wintertime. Besides the rich instrumentation on this album from the traditional rock instruments of guitar, bass, keys, and the flute, sax, and violin, what standout and more important is the quality of the songwriting which offers a strong balance of atmosphere from the light to the dark and dramatic with enough dynamics and punch that despite his inspiration taken in the 70's sound like a modern album that will please a lot of prog fans of the symphonic British and Italian style.
 Wyrd by ELLESMERE album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.01 | 87 ratings

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Wyrd
Ellesmere Symphonic Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars More polished Neo Prog of the symphonic RPI sort from ambitious Italian Roberto Vitelli. Top notch, sound, musicianship and composition for anyone into those things.

1. "Challenge" (7:26) cinematic piano jazz with eerie synth and percussion sounds. 'Tron comes in at the end of the second minute to signal a change. The new motif takes off in a BANCO kind of way, supporting soli from a variety of synths, violin (David Cross), organ, and electric guitar. Another thematic shift at 4:10--this one setting up the joinder of vocals. The violin play is so dextrous yet subtle--it's crazed yet almost goes unnoticed within the tapestry. The vocalist really shows his strength with some very high, sustained notes in the sixth minute, then things fade into the wind--which then bleeds into the next song. (13.25/15)

2. "The Eery Manor" (6:24) wind from "Challenge" is carried forward by the crazed flute playing of John Hackett. The next instruments to join in give it a classically-tinged Gothic feel, John Hackett stiil going crazy, then it goes very classic RPI (LE ORME Felona e Sonora) in the second half of the second minute. At 3:15 we switch into more abrasive IL BALLETTO-like motif but then alternating into some absolutely gorgeous melodic themes over the next two and a half minutes. (8.75/10)

3. "Endeavour" (8:24) smooth opening with great sound palette across the board: Aarp synth in the lead, arpeggiated guitars, bass pedals, and syncopated drums. 45 seconds in an oddly recorded, oddly placed voice begins talk-singing with a melancholy passion. Flutes and vocalized "da-da-te-da-da de-da-dum"s play into a kind of chorus. Then raunchy Hammond organ leads us into another mre unsettling theme within which electric guitar, bass and saxes offer quite frenzied, untamed solo lines. At 4:55 we come out and smooth over again--though the sax is still a bit crazed, the lead guitar presents in a calm, heroic way. A couple more rounds in and out of chaos occur before we seem to resolve the conflict and emerge into the light of victory. (17.5/20)

4. "Ajar" (8:05) a take off/variation on some of the themes and riffs from YES's "Gates of Delirium" Still, the best song on the album. Vocals don't make themselves known until the fourth minute (with Trevor Horn-like flanged bass!). Weird reverse spoken passages persist here and there. Smooth yet-edgy sax solo (so controlled and adept by virtuoso David Jackson!) in the sixth minute. Love the grand entry of the 'Tron and saxes for the final 45 seconds. (13.75/15)

5. "Endless" (13:14) incorporating a riff that is familiar to me from an old KNIGHT AREA song (2007's "Under a New Sign") as the main melodic hook throws me a bit off. And then once I think I've gotten over it, the similarities persist- -at least for the first 5:20. The fact that it holds nearly the exact same pace and sonic palette (embellished by the saxes and flutes) is also a distraction. But then in the seventh minute the new melodic territory takes us into another familiar and gorgeous ear worm. this one from Another transition, this one more complete, at the 7:00 mark takes us into Camel-meets-Paul Reynolds (Flock of Seagulls) before turning full-on Phil Collins-era GENESIS (Duke and later especially) before returning us to the KNIGHT AREA fold. Great drumming--on a par with Phil Collins' strongest, most bombastic. At 11:00 we weirdly transition into an entirely different, more KRAFTWERK/JEAN- MICHEL JARRE-like synth-pop section--to the finish! What?!?! Please explain! The song is good, the musicianship and composition excellent, it just feels a bit . . . borrowed. But then, didn't most of the great masters of Classical Music lift and borrow riffs and themes to "play with" from all of their predecessors? (22/25)

Total Time 43:33

Creative music making that often takes us right to the edge of "acceptable bombast." The songs have a modern originality to them while also paying homage to many past RPI masterpieces and styles. Though there are plenty of original twists and effects used in the making of these songs--each with its own (though the "crazed" soli from the seasoned veterans is a pretty common thread throughout)--I still think Roberto's compositions lie perhaps a little too firmly within the "safety" of classic RPI.

B+/4.5 stars; an excellent addition to any prog lover's music collection--especially if you are wanting to hear embellishments and expansions on themes and works of the RPI masters that have gone before.

 II - From Sea And Beyond by ELLESMERE album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.93 | 120 ratings

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II - From Sea And Beyond
Ellesmere Symphonic Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars This one came as a real surprise to me as Roberto and Paolo's previous Ellesmere effort--2015's Les Châteaux de la Loire--was so gentle and bucolic; "From the Sea and Beyond" is full out Neo Prog Rock in the GALAHAD or RIVERSEA vein as opposed to the pastoral Anthony Phillips-like acoustic guitar-based fare of the previous. It's very good--with thick, full sound and well-constructed Neo Prog songs.

1. "Tidal Breath" (2:13) a subtle keyboard synth extravaganza over ocean surf sounds. (4.5/5)

2. "Marine Extravaganza" (11:55) nice Neo Prog sound palette but the song never really goes anywhere exciting or unusual (though the walkabout that slurred Rickenbacker bass is on for the first few minutes is very entertaining). It seems a basic structure set up just to allow the individual instruments to each have solo times. The bare bones "strings" and "bass" section in the seventh minute is quite cloying and downright annoying. Luckily the Arp solos take us out of it, and lead us to the best section of the song: the bridge at 7:45. The ensuing drum and Arp lead rhythmic pattern grows very old quite quickly. Even the addition of organ and the return of the slurred Rickenbacker cannot save it (though the awesome 7:45 bridge is repeated twice starting at 9:33). The closing section is just too close to GENESIS Wind and Wuthering. (8/10)

3. "Runaway" (6:01) Vocalist Robert Berry's voice bears a striking resemblance to that of Thomas Thielen. (8.5/10)

4. "Marine Coda" (2:09) a pleasant interlude instrumental whose foundation and David Jackson's song-length saxophone solo are meant, methinks, to conjure up late-night sea journeys on a still, uneventful moonless night. (4.5/5)

5. "The Schooner" (11:02) church organ opens this one before chunky bass, flanged guitars and steady drums enter. When Keith More's lead guitar enters around the one minute mark, everybody pauses as if to give him their full attention. Then the full band rejoins to support and encourage his continued soloing until we break at the 2:30 mark for a solo from the omnipresent church organ. I have to say, the organ-band-and-electric guitar combination in this song really works well--the clean, crystalline organ tone and volume and that of Keith's slightly dirty lead guitar are perfect foils for one another! Even over eleven minutes! The tenth minute gets a little too-IQ-ish but then a return to the church organ as the lead over the final minute restores glory. Well met! (9.5/10)

6. "Ridge Fanfare (3:21) full, deep and thick Neo Prog soundscape opens this one with gradually ascending arpeggiated chords from moog synth leading the way as the rest of the band follows. Davy O'List's MIKE OLDFIELD-like guitar tone takes on the lead as the song moves out of intro/A section phase to the B section (chorus?) Ends rather abruptly. (9/10)

7. "Time, Life Again (8:59) a very nice retro-GENESIS Neo Prog sound and chord palette opens this one before the voice of Robert Berry enters at the 1:40 mark. Lots of Arp-y synth strings and chunky 'underwater' Rickenbacker bass permeate every second of this song--it's a nice sound--well done, sounding rather fresh and original and not over-the-top. A break at 5:35 allows the drums to switch to a kind of "Man on the Corner" tom-tom pattern while Brett Kull takes a turn at the lead guitar, soloing with an distorted and wah-ed style and flair reminiscent of some of the stars of the late 60s and 70s--Eric Clapton, to be specific. Excellent job, Brett! A solo that just keeps getting better as it goes--and definitely the best I've ever heard out of you! I have to admit, this is one of the better Neo Prog songs I've ever heard. (10/10)

4.5 stars; a near-masterpiece of refreshing Neo Prog. Roberto Vitelli and Paolo Carnelli definitely have something refreshing to offer Prog World--and a gift for coaxing peak performances out of their guests--even as accomplished guests as these!

 Les Châteaux De La Loire by ELLESMERE album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.94 | 61 ratings

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Les Châteaux De La Loire
Ellesmere Symphonic Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Beautiful pastoral music in the vein of the 21st Century releases of Andrew Marshall's WILLOWGLASS and early BIG BIG TRAIN--recent artists who were also inspired by the ANTHONY PHILLIPS-like instrument palette. In my opinion, the music is quite fitting and elevated enough to do justice to the subject matter it is trying to honor, the chateaux of France's famed Loire Valley. All songs are acoustic guitar based with layers of support from Mellotrons, strings, "period"-sounding keyboards, hand percussives, wordless singing, and woodwinds. Obviously, the music is up to the master's own standards as the one and only Anthony Phillips adds his vocal talents to set the album's overall mood with the recitation of an Alfred Austin poem as the Suite's opener and closer. The two bonus tracks, the lyrically accompanied "The Ancient Samovar" and the gorgeous piano-based "Wintry Afternoon" are as fitting to the album's overall feel as is its central "Chateaux Suite." Like the works of Mssrs. Marshall, Spawnton & Poole, this music is quite gorgeous, relaxing, and undemanding. Definitely a worthy addition to any prog lover's music collection--and especially to those who enjoy the contemplative and reverential side of human nature.
Thanks to rdtprog for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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