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Il Tempio Delle Clessidre - Il Tempio delle Clessidre CD (album) cover


Il Tempio Delle Clessidre


Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.05 | 374 ratings

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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Seeds blown from Museo Rosenbach's flower bring one of 2010s best

Il Tempio delle Clessidre have been around for a few years but in the fall of 2010 they released this self-titled debut on Black Widow Records. The band was formed in 2006 by keyboardist Elisa Montaldo and Gabriele Guidi Colombi, the latter of whom left the band before the album's release. The current line-up of the band retains Elisa, and adds Stefano "Lupo" Galifi (vocals), Fabio Gremo (bass), Giulio Canepa (guitars) and Paolo Tixi (drums). Italian prog fans will note that Galifi was the lead vocalist of the legendary Museo Rosenbach, one of the most beloved classic-era RPI bands. The new album not only bears some resemblance to "Zarathustra," I think it may well join Il Bacio della Medusa's second album as one of the most beloved RPI titles of this period.

This debut should break through the RPI fan community into the wider prog-rock community, because it is a title that will hold appeal for any fan of classic progressive rock. The majority of the music is quite beautiful and I would say holds most appeal for those who love refined and melodic progressive rock, as opposed to the wild and crazy, abrasive stuff. This title has everything in one package: Sweeping, majestic compositions filled with passages of great beauty and dramatic overtones; a vintage sound approach but with great audio quality; highly proficient and energetic performances on bass, guitar, and drums; extended instrumental passages which allow the guitar and rhythm section to work up some gorgeous themes. But I have to talk most about the keyboards and vocals here.

First, the vocals. Often times proggers who don't speak Italian complain that the "operatic/overbearing" Italian vocal style (which they see as negative, but I personally love) will wreck their enjoyment of an album, and I can vouch that this one will not do that. Stefano Galifi's vocals are warm and inviting, passionate and yet not overbearing, soothing rather than grating in any way. His voice has held up amazingly well, he sounds just as good as he did four decades ago, in fact he may be a better vocalist now. He certainly sounds more controlled and seasoned. Further, this is not an album where the vocals are constantly in your face. There are plenty of spaces where the vocals fall away for the various instrumentalists to shine.

Second, I have to speak about the keyboards of Elisa Montaldo. Oh my God this album is going to send the keyboard fanatics into bliss overload. Lots of organ and even some Church organ, mellotron (or synth 'tron effect, not sure), and most importantly, tons of traditional piano. Being my favorite keyboard, the generous passages of piano make the album irresistible. Elisa has very keen melodic instincts as well, finding lines of notes that are all about emotion rather than prog showiness. The compositions were written by Montaldo and bassist Fabio Gremo. They bring the songs to the others were they are fleshed out through improvisation and the further exchange of ideas. It sounds like there is plenty of team work in crafting arrangements that are exciting and pleasing for the listener. The keyboards create swelling, grand backgrounds throughout, but the lead keyboard runs are consciously arranged and written to work in unison with the guitar parts for a wonderfully effective sound.

"I can tell that "Il Tempio delle Clessidre" is not only an album for me, it's a whole world, a piece of life that took shape in the course of the years. The music we propose is new and fresh even if we know that it's not so innovative, but this is a choice: one of our aims is to recreate the sounds and atmospheres of '70's progressive rock" -Elisa

" of the most important aspects in this band is the wide difference in the musical taste of each of us. This helped creating songs with a great variety of elements and nuances. Every musician adds a character, an ingredient to the recipe, thus creating something peculiar." -Fabio

"When I get inspiration I immediately go to my piano and play: improvisation is the most important thing for me, I compose music directly from my emotions, dreams and ideas and try to translate those ones into music....I often overlap different sounds from my keyboards to create the right tone colour, and try to emulate the classical progressive sounds that I love (Mellotron, Chamberlin, Hammond organ). The guitars are strictly connected with the keyboards in our music, they are very refined and versatile, Giulio is a really good guitarist and he has a great musical sensibility that makes the arrangements original, well balanced and in harmony with the real sense of the compositions." -Elisa (quotations from ProgArchives interview with the band, October 2010)

The tracks boast a nice mix of heavier rock, romantic Italian flavored prog, and moods both melancholic and joyful. It occasionally can sound like Zarathustra, but Zarathustra to my ears gets a bit more aggressive and occasionally raw. Here the sound is more layered, melodic, and more richly dressed. The highlights of the album for this listener are many, but I would point most enthusiastically to the middle section where three songs, "La Stanza Nascosta," "Danza Esoterica di Datura," and "Faldistorium" just knock my socks off. Here they will add to their base band sound by introducing elements such as cello (beautifully handled!), recitation, and church organ to the already solid material, making the experience even better. I would love to see them use more strings, choirs, and church organ in the future. The 10-minute "Il Centro Sottile" is also a real beauty with a spirit of sentimentality and adventure, almost like a mini film soundtrack, ebbing and flowing but ultimately soaring.

I can only imagine how incredible it must be for the younger members of this band to be working with Galifi, and vice versa. They have been able to put one of progressive rocks great vocalists over their debut compositions, and Galifi has found musicians as capable and creative (if not more so) than the Museo Rosenbach band of yesteryear. The combination of their youth, energy, and great compositions merged with his voice and great emotional instincts have without question created one of RPI's most exciting current bands. These two formidable personnel strengths are not insignificant; having both youthful passion and a veteran's wisdom in one tent can only mean the opportunity for great song creation. This is a project that simply must give us more, it would be a tragedy if this album were not followed up in the future.

Not only is this album one of progressive rock's finest of 2010, but it's one of the 2000s finest RPI titles. The cover art is not fully appreciated until you are able to fold it over and view the back panel with the front. Only then can you see how cool it is, a fantasy land that this music inhabits and sounds a true part of. Wonderful stuff. 9/10

(This album will likely be battling "Rabbit" for my top album of the year vote)

Finnforest | 4/5 |


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