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Clepsydra More Grains Of Sand album cover
3.72 | 142 ratings | 18 reviews | 29% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1994

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The First Grain (Setting The Hour Glass) (0:45)
2. Moonshine On Heights (7:13)
3. Birthday Party (7:17)
4. Eagles (5:55)
5. Hold Me Tight (3:18)
6. No Place For Flowers (8:04)
- i) Darkness
- ii) The Return Of The Light
7. The Outermost Bounds (2:54)
8. Fly Man (4:10)
9. The River In Your Eyes (8:45)
10.Grain Dance (2:05)
11. The Prisoner's Victory (7:15)
12. Vienna (4:40)
13. The Last Grain (You Can Always Turn The Hour Glass Again) (3:28)

Total Time: 61:42

Bonus track on 2014 remaster:
14. The Missing Spark (Live In Barcelona Sapin 1998) (9:44)

Line-up / Musicians

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

- Nick Barrett / vocals (2-outro)

Releases information

Artwork: Edoardo Oppliger and Sandor Kwiatkowski

CD Self-released ‎- CCD 4109 (1994, Switzerland)
CD Galileo Records ‎- GR038 (2014, Europe) Remastered with a bonus track

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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CLEPSYDRA More Grains Of Sand ratings distribution

(142 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(29%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(43%)
Good, but non-essential (22%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

CLEPSYDRA More Grains Of Sand reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by loserboy
3 stars "More Grains Of Sand" represents Swiss Proggers CLEPSYDRA's second release which contains some excellent Neo Prog sounds. CLEPSYDRA deliver soaring sythns (aka MARILLION, PENDRAGON...), great guitar work and the emotive vocals of Aluisio Maggini. PENDRAGON's Nick Barrett makes a guest appearance on the opening track (for those who are PENDRAGON completists). Songs are well written and performed with great gusto and emotion. A highly enjoyable album all the way through.
Review by semismart
5 stars Clepsydra labors in virtual obscurity in the Italian Alps of Switzerland. They have recorded four brilliant albums which are, in chronological order Hologram (1991), More Grains of Sand (1994), Fear (1997) and Alone (2001).

Clepsydra's music falls in the neo progressive rock vein along with bands like Genesis, Marillion, King Crimson, Iluvatar, Mostly Autumn, Pendragon and many, many other great timeless artists. The songs are sung in English and their singer, Alu Maggini has a wonderful, relatively high pitched, emotive vox. What is it with Neo Prog Rock bands that they all have high pitched, comparable sounding vocalists? Anyway Clepsydra projects a similar sound to their English contemporaries and in my opinion they out English the English bands.

Clepsydra is

Alu Maggini - vocals Marco Cerulli - guitars Philip Hubert - keyboards Pietro Duca - drums Nicola De-Vita - bass guitar


"Moonshine On Heights" This brilliant medium slow number begins with a mild ethereal feel like twinkling stars which continues intermittently throughout this seven minute gem featuring strong guitars and keyboards. The last two minutes the pace picks up slightly for an impressive finish.There are also some sound samples in this song as well.

"Throw away your glasses, need to see your eyes" Don't tell 'no time', don't tell me 'no lies' I know you did talk before, about friendship and past,It's not your place!

"Birthday Party" is another seven minute jewel, starting slowly with a piano, it is joined by the whole band for another medium slow variable paced song with more guitar work than previously.

"There are few people at Jane's birthday party The atmosphere is strained lost and odd Wine beer and many sweets are on the table but Jane doesn't care, she just doesn't a damn"

"Hold Me Tight" is a short very pleasant ballad with strong emotive vocals and understated instrumentals.

"Come closer, hold me tight, as strong as you can And join me in this infinity that parts us And bring a dim light in this darkness In this sad sea of emptiness"

"Fly Man" is a medium paced number and has a large accessible rock sound. This song could fit right in a top forty radio program - If they ever heard of Clepsydra

"Hey you, are you still here? I do not hear you anymore Tell me what you think about me" You know everybody's talking bad Thought I'd do my very best to try to please them all

"The River In Your Eyes" Nice slow acoustical vocal start slowly building up and then evolving to an exceptional mid tempo song. At 8:45, it is the longest and maybe the best song on the album, though it's hard to pick a best.

"The river in your eyes Screams a thousand words About glory and pride But now with a knife in your hand"

"The Last Grain" a very nice instrumental with a generous portion of electric guitar throughout.


One of the things I really like about Neo Progressive Rock is that, even in this era, they have not forgotten the power or an organ or a piano or now days a synthesizer. It is a powerful musical weapon and Clepsydra keyboardist Philip Hubert seems to be aware of that. Hubert is a master at emphasizing great keyboard melodies that are a big part of Clepsydra's repertoire.

Another strength of Clepsydra, not that they have weaknesses, is their songwriting which is sublime. It really is amazing how pleasant Clepsydra is to listen to. They are a basic five man band but their sound is mighty and each band member is a master musician. As Neo Progressive Rock goes they are at the pinnacle for clever catchy songs just full of hooks and great lyrics.

I'm so impressed by Clepsydra that I went ahead and ordered two more of their albums, believing they would be a great as More Grains of Sand. A band this great doesn't all of a sudden get bad!

Review by The Crow
3 stars Pure Neo-Progresive music, with all the cliches of this style, and some of its virtues!

The sound in this album could have been better (specially in the keyboards, too much in the 80's way, and the drums, a little weak in my opinion...), and some songs are a little boring, like The River In You Eyes, The Prisoner's Victory... But when you hear the passionate Aluisio's singing (despite his terrible english pronunciation...) and the outstanding Lele's guitar solos in some songs of the record, you'll forget part of the weakness this album has.

I think the best fact of this record are the Gabriel Hofmann's guitars (aka Lele Hofmann), who left the band after this work. His solos are very heart-touching, and they can even get tears from your eyes... But he plays the guitar in a very Mike Oldifeld's way! For that, the Lele's guitar it's not very original...But he's still great.

Best songs: Moonshine on Heights, Birthday Party, Hold me Tight (marvellous solo here!) and The Last Grain.

Conclusion: if you take take the dramatic Marillion's feeling, some of the mellow Pendragon songs, and the IQ's keyboard sound... You'll have "More Grains of Sand"! So this album is recommended for the purest Neo-Progresive lovers! But if you want to discover this band, I recommend you to start with "Fears" anyway, or their masterpiece "Alone", wich is one of the best neo-prog albums I've heard.

My rating: ***1/2

Review by Prog-jester
4 stars Those who prefer quality of the record to its musical material, should minus 1 star.

This is, in my humble opinion, the best CLEPSYDRA album. When I got it 2 years ago, it seemed to me too amateur and undeveloped. Songs were well-structured/written, but arrangements were too “vast” (I mean, there weren’t enough background keyboards for me and rhythm-section sounded too “programmed”-like). Guitar solos were awesome, but singer’s terrible accent was stealing the whole show. But I’ve grown to like this album immensely, and only some certain abovementioned flaws prevented me from 5-star rating. “More Grains of Sand” is a lost “Misplaced Childhood” brother (as well as any other CLEPSYDRA album ;) ), and this is their best effort in cloning this MARILLION masterpiece (ALMOST as good as original!). Anyone who likes MARILLION, RED SAND, COLLAGE, APOCALYPSE, LA TULIPE NOIRE, DARIUS, LORIEN, ALSO EDEN, NO NAME and other related MARILLION clones and followers MUST check this album out!!! Extremely recommended!

Review by progrules
5 stars Some years ago I visited the website of Clepsydra, went to their guestbook and thanked them for a.o. this great album and the sheer enjoyment it gave me every time I listened their albums. And of their 3 latest albums (Hologram is somewhat less to me) this could be their very best, although it's a tough call.

And this is one of those albums you shouldn't review song by song but rather as a whole. And this is because all the songs are related; it's a kind of concept-album, if not a real one. On the other hand I have to say that not all songs are equally good. Recapitulated I believe the longer songs are the best although the last song of the album (The last grain) is also a highlight. But really, Moonshine on heights, No place for flowers and The River in your eyes are absolute top class tracks, highly melodic, with great guitar and keyboardpassages, neo prog as I like it best.

Clepsydra is often compared to Pendragon, Marillion and other melodic neoprogbands but I believe they have a unique sound and I think if melody is your highest priority in progmusic, you can easily take this one as a perfect example. I think this is an obvious 5 star-album.

Review by kenethlevine
4 stars I have yet to hear Clepsydra's debut, "Hologram", working my way back in their discography as I am, but multiple listens to "More Grains of Sand" give me the idea that the first few songs are layovers from that album. This is because, in spite of a solid opening pair of songs, and another interesting tune "Eagles", the album really seems to kick into gear with track 5, "Hold me Tight", which it does right thru track 11, "The Prisoner's Victory". Regardless, it's enough for another highly rated work from this premier and criminally overlooked Swiss-Italian band.

It is the chorus of "Hold me Tight" which showcases Maggini's emotional magic. "No Place for Flowers" is a real grower, the first few minutes passing by unappreciated until a sparkling lead guitar solo bursts into focus, fading out only to explode one more time. It is very reminiscent of some of the work of Collage's Mirek Gil. Once this climax is fully appreciated, one returns to the earlier parts of the song to see how, indeed, it got from A to B. "The Outermost Bounds" is a short keyboard based ballad with another fine melody. The transition to the upbeat, almost poppy "Fly Man" is effective. This song reminds me of mid period Genesis in their more accessible moments. "The River in Your Eyes" starts off with just acoustic guitar played in the Hackett style but becomes an ambient rocker shifting from instrumental to vocal passages swiftly and deftly. It ends with yet another great lead guitar solo that segues into the graceful, slightly spacey instrumental "Grain Dance", also dominated by Lele Hofmann's guitar. Not to say that Philip Hubert's keyboards play a minor role - they are critical to the mood setting which is what Clepsydra is all about. The Prisoner's Victory" is another fine lengthy piece with a number of themes, and the album closes with two shorter tracks that are nowhere near as monumental.

It should be mentioned that if you can't handle accented vocals, and occasional words that are mispronounced, you might have some trouble with Maggini's voice, but otherwise I think there is much to like here for anyone who tends to the more melodic side, if not the extreme end, of the prog spectrum. It's not easy to find Clepsydra recordings anymore, and I would not tarry, for the hourglass has nearly emptied, and it may not be possible to turn it over again.

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars This Swiss band is delivering a good album full of "Marillion" sounds.

Tortured vocals and related Rothery guitar sounds will please any fan of the genuine "Marillion". This is mostly experienced during "Birthday Party" which is really close to the spirit of "Script" (the album).

This easy listening prog won't captivate the progheads looking for intricate and complex music, but as I have said in my review of their debut, there must be music for all tastes. And this album is rather on the good side.

Once you have accepted the high-pitched tone of voice of Aluisio Maggini you'll be embarked for a joyful ride. It is true that those guitar-oriented solo have a definite "Pendragon" scent, but there is nothing wrong with this. When a number is a bit weaker, a great solo will highlight it like during "Eagles".

There is a strong emotion that emanates out of "Hold Me Tight". Vocally and instrumentally. Just too short IMO. Some more of these great guitar sounds would have been welcome. Still, it is one of my preferred song from this album.

The second longest song of "More Grains of Sand" allows for a deeper architecture. It is more elaborate and features some good and advanced drumming. The global and positive feeling about this work is reinforced even if the mood is very much the same throughout the album. "No Place for Flowers" holds Banks oriented synthesizer parts which are quite pleasant but déjà vu of course.

As on almost each track, Lele Hofmann is displaying some wonderful guitar notes. This is the highlight of this band. Their music is really lifting off while these enter the scene. The more, the better.

After two shorter and weaker tracks ("The Outermost Bounds" and the popish "Fly Man"), the band gets back to a more elaborate piece of music again (The River in Your Eyes). Very pleasant Spanish acoustic guitar introduction and sweet vocals fully reminds of "Pendragon". It switches to a more rocking pattern (even heavy) for a while. And, very predictably a sumptuous guitar break is closing this good song, even prolonged into the short instrumental "Grain Dance". Because there are no interruption between the tracks.

At this time of the album, some sort of uniformity becomes more and more difficult to bear. "The Prisoner's Victory" is just saved by Hofmann again. It is not easy to captivate the listener for over sixty-five minutes (and not sixty-one as totalized in the album's presentation). I had the same feeling already with "Hologram" (although it was noticeably shorter).

This is probably not a major album. A good neo-prog offering miming some of the best in the genre. Three stars.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars ''Hologram'' was finally followed by the first ever concert of Clepsydra in December 91'.In 1993 the band releases the CD-single ''Fly man'', followed a year later by the second full-length album ''More Grains of Sand'', recorded between December 93' and February 94' at the Flying Studios in Gravellona Toce, Italy and once more released on SPV.

Nothing new added to the succesful sound of ''Hologram'', but this far from being a bad thing.On the opposite, with ''More Grains of Sand'' Clepsydra established themselves as a top competitor of the Neo Prog league.Their style remains highly dramatic, fully emotional and deeply atmospheric, drawing influences from FLOYD-ian soundscapes, MARILLION-esque mannerisms and IQ-like symphonic pyrotechnics, eventually sounding a lot like early COLLAGE, with compositions filled with lyricism and musical beauty.Maggini's voice even sounds more controlled, while the compositions are almost perfectly structured around superb guitar solos, deep, haunting keyboards and shifting moods.Some great keyboard solos by Philip Hubert are also in the menu, while the new album seems to have a bit darker and an even more personal sound overall.The later tracks are definitely among the best Clepsydra's inspirations: Grandiose, symphonic, thrilling and highly melodic Neo Prog of priceless value.

Another winner by this lost Swiss band.Needless to say every decent Neo Prog follower should rank this album among the best of the genre, but ''More Grains of Sand'' is likely to satisfy the whole prog audience due to its majestic atmosphere.Highly recommended.

Review by seventhsojourn
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars More Grains Of Sand (1994) should appeal to devotees of Marillion, and may also be of interest to Pendragon fans as Nick Barrett makes a guest appearance with some spoken- word vocals on the album's best track MOONSHINE ON HEIGHTS. This song features some uncommonly good guitar and it sticks out like a sore thumb from the rest of the material, some of which is a bit uninspired. The other songs are pleasant enough without really demanding attention and in general this is a fairly meditative and one-paced album, although FLY MAN injects some much-needed energy into proceedings.

Aluisio Maggini's vocals are a little too earnest and in places he sounds as if he's trying to mimic Fish. There's no such problem on the two short instrumentals, GRAIN DANCE and THE LAST GRAIN, which sound a bit like Mike Oldfield and Steve Hackett respectively. THE RIVER IN YOUR EYES features some wonderful ensemble playing but the musicianship is beyond reproach throughout the album, with guitarist Lele Hofmann in particular shining. However even his meticulous solos aren't really enough to elevate things above average, and several songs suffer from being too much of a muchness. One notable exception to this is BIRTHDAY PARTY with its sharp contrasts in dynamics and Anglagard-inspired guitar riff. This isn't a bad album by any means, but I'd recommend you listen to Fears first.

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars 3.5 stars. I really enjoy this Swiss band's sound. The passionate vocals, prominant bass and drums, and the electrifying guitar all add up to some high praise from yours truly. This is their second album, and to my ears this band seems to get better with each album. So yes this one isn't as good as "Fears" or "Alone" but it's still a high quality release.

"The First Grain" is a short but powerful intro. "Moonshine On Heights" is one of the best tracks. I like the way themes are repeated along with the guitar and atmosphere. Nick Barrett from PENDRAGON adds some spoken words on the outro. "Birthday Party" opens with piano then kicks in with power before a minute. The guitar is so good here as it cries out. It settles as vocals come in and contrasts continue. "Eagles" builds with vocals. The guitar leads before 4 minutes as drums pound. "Hold Me Tight" features passionate vocals and guitar.

"No Place For Flowers" puts the focus on the vocals and guitar once again. "The Outermost Bounds" is laid back with piano and vocals. "Fly Man" is aggressive early before settling in. "The River In Your Eyes" is mellow early then picks up. I like the chunky bass 4 minutes in and later at 5 1/2 minutes. "Grain Dance" is guitar and keyboard led. Drums late. "The Prisoner's Victory" is my favourite. The contrasts and the emotional guitar just do it for me. "Vienna" opens with guitar as keys and drums join in. Vocals and bass follow. It's fuller after 3 1/2 minutes. It settles and blends into "The Last Grain". The guitar impresses me on this one.

So a good album to be sure but i'd go for "Fears" or "Alone" first.

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
3 stars I remember when Marillion were at their beginnings, neo-prog wasn't a genre and all the guys I knew were calling them a Genesis clone. That's why I've been shocked when I first listened to what appeared to me as a Marillion clone.

After more spins to this album one thing is clear: if you are looking for neo-prog this is your band. They sound very close to Marillion of the Fish era. The differences are mainly in the voice that's high-pitched and can remind more to Eloy (but without that strong German accent) and sometimes to Jon Anderson. The guitar, too, is not the same as Steve Rothery. What makes them so familiar is the keyboard sound that seems they have taken directly from Fugazi.

What's the good with them? Respect to the early Marillion, they have probably better melodies. And even with the sound similarities, they don't copy.

It's neo-prog, so finding reminds to other bands is not unusual. "No Place for Flowers" for example reminds to Yes in the first 2 minutes, after then keyboard and voice may be replaced by Kelly and Fish.

A good album, and a good band, for all the fans of neo-prog, with their roots in the 80s instead of the 70s.

Not essential, but this is my opinion about most of the neo-prog productions. If you like Script and Fugazi this album is for you.

Review by Warthur
3 stars Clepsydra's second album finds them playing in a heavily Marillion-influenced style, with competent performances and songwriting undermined slightly by rather patchy sound quality. I could take or leave Aluisio Maggini's somewhat cliched and overwrought vocals, but Philip Hubert does a great job on the keyboards, showing a level of skill and accomplishment comparable to Marillion's Mark Kelly or the ubiquitous Clive Nolan; however, his performance here is sabotaged just a little by rather thin sound quality which doesn't bring out the best in the music. Pendragon fans will be interested to know that Nick Barret has a cameo on Moonshine of Heights.
Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Better follow-up from debut album ...

As I put it at the review of first album:

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.

At this second album the band tried to move from the first category to the second one with much more energy and dynamics injected into the the music. The result is an interesting album mbetter than the first offering where the dragging keyboard work were dominating the scene. In fact right from the opening track The First Grain (Setting The Hour Glass) (0:45) that connect to the second one Moonshine On Heights (7:13) the music demontrates energy and dynamic as He Knows You Know from Marillion even though at not the same energy. But at least the music is now more interesting and challenging to me personally. Even though Birthday Party (7:17) is mellow and like the first category but it has great nuances and makes me interested to enjoy further.

No Place For Flowers (8:04) as well as Fly Man (4:10) demonstrate the dynamics of the music and I enjoy the energy the band sparks through the excellent compositions of these two songs. The msuic is not as quality as Forgotten Sons but they are both very enjoyable.

Overall, the album is much better than the debut even though there are still elements that need further improvement, There are great keyboard sols as well as guitar solo throughout the songs provided by this album. Recommended for those who like neo prog and it's worth having it in your collection. Keep on proggin' ...!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by Tarcisio Moura
4 stars Swiss band Clepsydra is one of the great prog bands to emerge from the 1990´s and More Grains of Sand Is their second album. It is also one of my favourites. Coming three years after their debut, Hologram (1991), MGoS find the band in a transitional mode stylistic speaking: still a bit derivative in parts but on the right direction. They would find their very own sound with their next release, Fears (1997). However, in terms of songwriting and playing quality, the album is simply superb: the songs are much more inspired, powerful and well structured and the production is better (although not ideal yet). I specially appreciated Lele Hoffman´s guitars licks and solos, along with Philip Hubert´s tasteful keyboards and the tight rhythm section of Andy Thommen (bass) and Pietro Duca (Drums). Aluisio Maggini´s voice is always something different, to say the least, but you can´t deny his charisma and power. It´s a matter of taste, and I, after acquiring the taste, like it a lot.

Although the band had not totally shed their early Marillion influences yet, More Grains Of Sand shows their enormous talent and potential. Songs like The Prisioner´s Victory and Moonshine On Heights are among their best and the album does not have a single weak track to mar its greatness. If you like the more melodic side of progressive music, where the great technique is used to enhance the songs and not just for pointless displays of virtuosity, then you should not miss this one.

Rating: four strong stars.

Latest members reviews

4 stars What a wonderful melodic group. These guys are a hidden gem, but unfortunately that also means they are somewhat of an unknown. For symphonic prog on the order of classic Yes, Genesis, or Marillion they are fantastic - lots of synths and guitar riffs a la the 1970s classic progressive period. ... (read more)

Report this review (#2944115) | Posted by gbjones | Saturday, August 5, 2023 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This wonderful 1994 album from Switzerland--my copy happens to be the 2014 remastered version--is very typical neo-prog. Other reviewers have made comparisons to Fish-era Marillion, and in fact the music sounds very much the same. Add Fish--both his vocals and his lyrics--and to my ears it would ... (read more)

Report this review (#2899629) | Posted by Idaho | Wednesday, March 15, 2023 | Review Permanlink

4 stars SWITZERLAND NOT ONLY PRODUCES GOOD CHEESE AND CLOCKS! Second album by Swiss Neo Proggers is a real delight. Following the same pattern they set up with HOLOGRAM but this time with a better structure and more complex compositions and keeping (and enhacing) their Guitar/Keyboard based music. Gabr ... (read more)

Report this review (#131457) | Posted by FranMuzak | Thursday, August 2, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Switzerland is known for it's watches, so it's only logic that a Schwiss band chooses a time-measuring devise as it's name. More Grains Of Sand is Clepsydra's second full- length album. A gentle nice neo-progressive experience, in sound somewhat reminiscent to Marillion, Eloy and Pendragon, esp ... (read more)

Report this review (#40035) | Posted by tuxon | Saturday, July 23, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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