Exposé Online banner

Ellesmere — Wyrd
(AMS AMS317CD, 2020, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2021-02-06

Wyrd Cover art

Around six years ago, Ellesmere was born, the project of guitarist, bassist and composer Roberto Vitelli, who had served in the band Taproban for a period of time, seeking an outlet for his own compositions. The first album, 2015’s Les Châteaux de la Loire, was a beautiful, pastoral guitar based album, often reminiscent of many of Anthony Phillips’ early solo works, acoustic and twelve-string guitars intertwining, supporting some beautiful melodies across its eleven mostly instrumental tracks. Supporting musicians on that album included keyboardist Fabio Bonuglia, covering Mellotron on all tracks, drummer Daniele Pomo, Paolo Carnelli on electric piano, singer Luciano Regoli, along with special guests John Hackett (flute), Anthony Phillips (narration on two tracks) and others on violin, viola, cello, and trumpet. Fast forward to the final months of 2020 — a second album was released in 2018, and the third album Wyrd is now upon us, featuring many of the same players but with a very different approach: Vitelli playing a variety of basses, guitars and bass pedals, Bonuglia playing the bulk of the keyboards (Mellotron, Hammond organ, Moog and Korg synths, and more), and Mattias Olsson is manning the drum kit this time. Special guests again include John Hackett (flute) on two tracks, David Jackson on saxes and winds on most cuts, David Cross (violin) on one cut, and several guest keyboardists — Tomas Bodin, Tony Pagliuca, Fabio Liberatori each playing on one track each, with Regoli singing again, and an additional singer Giorgio Pizzala, even though like the first, this is mostly an instrumental outing. Unlike the delicate, pastoral acoustic and twelve-string styles of the debut album, Wyrd is composed of five long tracks that run together and are solidly in the symphonic progressive rock style, full of drama and bombast, with occasional delicate moments, but more often with bursts of power and complexity that befit the participation of Cross, Jackson, Hackett, and the other guests. The primary thrust is the instrumental work, shifting and changing as each of the pieces evolve and grow, with vocals only being a small part of the bigger picture. Again, all the compositions and lyrics are Vitelli’s, with Bonuglia sharing the arrangements. The vocals on the near-nine minute “Endeavour” may recall Yes, even though it’s primarily an instrumental outing, but the most impressive pieces are the opener and closer, “Challenge” and “Endless” respectively, for their expansive instrumental work. At the time of this writing, Wyrd is only available as a compact disc (or download), but with the track lengths should easily fit on vinyl in the future. An outstanding release that should be in every progressive rock fan’s collection.

Filed under: New releases, 2020 releases

Related artist(s): Tomas Bodin, David Cross, John Hackett, David Jackson, Ellesmere

More info

Latest news

New Aristocrats Live Album on the Way – No foolin'! These supreme musicians toured Europe early in 2020, just before touring ceased to be a thing musicians could do, and there were some hot performances captured. On May 7, some of these will be releases as Freeze! Live in Europe 2020. » Read more

Return of Jerry Lucky's Progressive Rock Files – After much consideration and surprisingly, positive feedback, Jerry Lucky is announcing the launch of the progressive Rock Files podcast, featuring the latest progressive rock music from around the world. » Read more

Jewlia Eisenberg RIP – The sad news has come out that Jewlia Eisenberg has died. As a founding member of Charming Hostess, Eisenberg changed the face of music, bringing together Balkan klezmer, American folk, and experimental rock in a distinctive blend that garnered much praise. » Read more

RIP Roger Trigaux – The sad news has come to our attention that Roger Trigaux, the guiding force of Present and former member of Univers Zero, passed away on the evening of March 10, 2021 after a long ilness. » Read more

SoundQuest Fest 2021 – SoundQuest Fest, first experienced as a live festival in Tucson Arizona in 2010 was created by ambient music pioneer Steve Roach. This 2021 event will unite a worldwide gathering of artists and audience members together for a 3-day online event unique in the realm of ambient music. From March 26-28th a continuous flow of streamed performances, audio-video wonder worlds and deep immersion zones will burn bright on Roach’s YouTube channel. » Read more

Previously in Exposé...

Emily Bezar - Exchange – With Exchange, California singer/songwriter/keyboardist Emily Bezar has produced her definitive (so far) musical statement. The elements that have contributed to her past releases (progressive rock,...  (2008) » Read more

Listen & discover

Print issues