Exposé Online banner

Elisa Montaldo — Fistful of Planets, Part 1
(Black Widow BWRDIST666 2015, 2015, CD)

by Henry Schneider, Published 2016-04-30

Fistful of Planets, Part 1 Cover art

Italian keyboardist and mastermind behind Il Tempio delle Clessidre, Elisa Montaldo has released her first solo album, Fistful of Planets - Part 1. If you are expecting more of the vintage Italian prog music she creates for Il Tempio, you will be surprised by the neo-prog material on Fistful of Planets. After the intense performing and recording time spent with Il Tempio, Elisa took a year off to travel and explore new musical ideas in her new unknown “earthly universe.” She composed and recorded eight new “planets” and “satellites” that form her “galaxy.” Actually one of her planets, “Blackgrass II,” was composed by British guitarist Karl Demata, founder and fellow bandmate in VLY. Six of the eight tracks are instrumentals featuring Elisa’s keyboard skills. And the two vocals, love song “To Gather” and song of loss “Weeping Willow” feature Elisa’s vocals. The tracks were recorded in various locations using her portable “Wandering Comet Studio.” The additional instrumentation was supplied by Mattias Olson in Stockholm. As a whole, Fistful of Planets is a deeply personal, introspective album. On some tracks Elisa is stretching her music into more experimental territory such as the cold and eerie “In the Cold White Desert,” the gothic country blues “Blackgrass II,” with found conversation between a very young girl and a man, the slightly surreal “Vodka e Limone,” and “Robot Madness” with its odd synth and mechanical sounds, plus the found recording about teaching computers to speak and sing that recalls the scene in 2001 when Dave shuts down HAL 9000. There are two bonus tracks on the disc with one track from each of the two Il Tempio delle Clessidre albums, “Danza Esoterica di Datura” and “Notturno.” Note that the printed track order for the tracks is the opposite of what is actually on the disc — I do not understand how these types of mistakes occur, but they happen from time to time on discs. This mistake threw me off at first into thinking that Elisa had reinterpreted and re-recorded the two songs, but then I noticed the big differences in track lengths. Unfortunately, for those listeners unfamiliar with Il Tempio delle Clessidre’s two albums, you will form the wrong impression of the music. Overall Fistful of Planets is a departure from what we’ve come to expect from Elisa, but it is refreshing to witness a musician exploring new types of music with the same skill, intelligence, and care as she has shown with her earlier work. Now I am looking forward to the next Il Tempio delle Clessidre album with Mattias on drums.


Filed under: New releases, 2015 releases

Related artist(s): Il Tempio delle Clessidre, Elisa Montaldo

Latest news

2019-02-21
You Can Be Part of an Ambient Electronic Project – The Gesture of History is a new electronic project put together by Sam Rosenthal of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Steve Roach, and violist Sam Shadow. The music started as an instrumental track Rosenthal was working on for a Black Tape album, but took on a life of its own and demanded further enhancements. The majority of the funds raised will go to manufacturing costs for LP and CD editions, as well as other items as detailed on the Kickstarter page. » Read more

2019-01-31
Keyboardist Ingo Bischof R.I.P. – Keyboard player Ingo Bischof, best known as the longtime keyboard player of German band Kraan, passed away on January 29th, 2019. Bischof was born January 2, 1951 in Berlin-Kreuzberg and joined Kraan in 1975. » Read more

2019-01-11
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more

2019-01-02
Chicago-Based Surabhi Ensemble Tours the World in January – Surabhi Ensemble was formed more than a decade ago in Chicago with the aim of bringing together musicians from varying traditions to make music. Saraswathi Ranganathan, who plays veena, assembled a cast that includes Arabic oud, Spanish guitar, and percussion from Africa and India. This month, the group will be sharing their sounds with concert-goers in Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa. » Read more

2018-12-23
Seaprog Festival Seeks Donations – Seaprog is a small festival in Seattle that highlights creative music from many genres with artists from around the world. It's also a US non-profit organization. They're seeking donations to help keep the ball rolling. Starting in 2013, the organization has been growing, and has featured such artists as Free Salamander Exhibit, Jack o' the Clock, Nik Turner, Cabezas de Cera, Miriodor, Thinking Plague, and many more. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Arturo Meza - Borges – It’s been so long since we have heard anything from this Mexican prog man that I was beginning to wonder what happened to him. Outside of various appearances with the likes of Nirgal Vallis and...  (2001) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues