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After the “Spyglass” single pushed the now-expanded Caelestis towards a new direction the line-up disintegrated due to mounting interpersonal conflicts between its some of its members. Piero Avatibile (keyboards) moved to the background and into a more consulting role whereas ties were severed with bass guitarist Fabiana Figurati-Haeckel. “Telesthesia” is the first record since 2012’s “Nel Suo Perduto Nimbo” to have Caelestis slimmed down to the duo of Cataldo Cappiello (instruments) and Vera Clinco (vocals) again. Caelestis has evolved drastically since forming in 2010. “Telesthesia” combines the best of all previous eras.

“Telesthesia” combines the lush production values and pop inclinations of “Spyglass” with the shoegaze, gothic and alternative rock of “Heliocardio”. Vera Clinco has never sounded more powerful, emotive and sensual. For the first time Clinco contributed to the lyric writing, and this results in an even more passionate performance on her part. Having fully abandoned the incidental metal stylings in favor of dreamy minimalism “Telesthesia” is a record mostly concerned with atmosphere and feeling. No longer limited by the restrictive trappings of its superficial metal stylings Caelestis now finally have returned to the dreamy soundscapes of its pre-Clinco era.

The album title refers to extrasensory perception, the supposed ability to obtain information without the use of normal sensory channels. ‘Ode al Mare’ is, as it title suggests, about the symbolic meaning of the sea, and an ode to its beauty and dangers. ‘Yugen’ is the appreciation and beauty of art in Japan. It values the power to evoke, rather than to directly state. In Chinese philosophical texts it means deep, dim or mysterious, and it describes the subtle profundity of things. “Telesthesia” on the whole is a rumination on the beauty of life, the lightness of being, desire and love. “Telesthesia” combines all of the different philosophical – and cultural interests of interest to its central duo.

‘Simboli’, a near minute-long instrumental intro, is a callback to the band’s early serene lounge sound. ‘Etra Diva’ - the first real song - is a strong, emotive opening track that serves to set up lead single ‘Ode Al Mare’. Both cuts push the “Heliocardio” dreampop sound into better written and pristinely produced territory with Clinco’s soaring vocals and Cappiello’s minimal, floating guitar melodies taking the forefront. The only thing not to grow along is the drum programming, which sounds amateuristic at best. ‘Etre Diva’, ‘Ode Al Mare’ and ‘Yugen’ form the titular conceptual trilogy. ‘Convulsa Delicatezza di un Desideridio’ has lyrics written by Vera Clinco, a first for Caelestis. Hopefully she’ll continue to contribute more than just her angelic vocalizations in the nearby future output of Caelestis.

“Telesthesia” is the most ambitious Caelestis product thus far in production and presentation. The album was recorded at Black Eight Studios with Nico Esposito handling the production. Esposito gives “Telesthesia” an airy, breezy sound that is tonally rich and much warmer sounding than the preceding “Spyglass” single, and the earlier “Heliocardio”. The cover make-up and photography was done by Bianca Parisi, with additional photography by Imma Ercolano. Design and layout was handled by Caelestis multi-instrumentalist Cataldo Cappiello for ExNovo Studio. On all fronts “Telesthesia” is a marked improvement for the duo.

Having at long last abandoned the last of its circumstantial metal aspects and “Telesthesia” stands high above its precedessors. Now headlong into the post-rock/shoegaze and dreampop genres Caelestis has embraced all components that play up to the considerable strenghts of its creators. From “Telesthesia” Caelestis can move forward into any direction. Obviously Clinco’s sensual vocals fit the best with a smooth lounge or chill pop sound. Cappiello is at his best within a minimal setting, whether this is electronic, acoustic or wave-like ambient. Minimalism is what drove the early output of Caelestis and returning to that setting, after briefly flirting with gothic-pop, “Telesthesia” sets the stage for exploration of any of its associated subgenres.

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The second Caelestis record is a transitional one, as it is the missing link between the early ambient lounge sound, and the breezy alternative pop/rock they would adopt for the “Heliocardio” EP. It is the first to feature actual lyrics and vocals (both male and female) in each of the tracks. While the album is still entirely written and performed by Cataldo Cappiello, it is here that the band decided upon its future direction. “Nel Suo Perduto Nimbo” is a record in two minds, but one that is able to juggle both sounds quite elegantly making the transition all the more gracious and smooth. That it was the first to feature the talents of future Caelestis chanteuse Vera Clinco is an additional bonus. Her presence would indeed decide the course Caelestis would pursue a few years later.

While the music is generally in the same direction as the preceding “Sky Shards” album, there a number of important differences. Most prominently among them are the presence of vocals, the majority of which are studio-processed whispers by Cappiello. There’s a greater reliance on percussion, and the songs aren’t nearly as freeflowing as the ambient lounge of “Sky Shards”. The first tracks follow more of the ambient lounge format of the “Sky Shards” album, the deeper you get into it the more pop elements are introduced. Stylistically it is identical to the “Sky Shards” album, but the addition of percussion and vocals greatly enhance the dynamic possibilities. Both albums are as ethereal, breezy and atmospheric as one would expect from an ambient/lounge record.

The songs are structurally more amorphous as the record further explores the celestial concept that the band moniker implies. Most of the songs tend to be based around one or two central ideas, but the record as a whole is much stronger thanks to the increased focus on the songs as separate entities. Each of these songs can stand on its own merits, and they now can be enjoyed out of context without any loss of emotional resonance. The compositional style of “Sky Shards” is further tightened and streamlined, while retaining the breezy, life-affirming atmosphere that defined said record. The addition of Cataldo’s vocals is a definite step towards more conventional songwriting, and the deeper one gets into the album the more pronounced these influences become. On the whole it is stylistically similar to “Sky Shards”, but “Nel Suo Perduto Nimbo” is decidedly darker and morose in comparison to the debut – but it also is more readily accessible.

The album forms also the recording debut for future Caelestis chanteuse Vera Clinco on the track ‘Dove La Luce’. She appears as a studio musician here, as she was still part of local pop/rock cover group Mefas. Her vocals are less inhibited than those on the later “Heliocardio” EP, perhaps due to the traditional vocal lines. For some reason Clinco’s soaring vocals are mixed under the instrumentation, which is the opposite of what you’d usually expect in this genre of music. The closing minutes of this track are jarring in their randomness, especially considering it started out as an ambient piano ballad. Along with the more compact nature of the songs, it is exactly Clinco’s brief presence that elevates the song she appears on to exciting new heights. ‘Dove La Luce’, despite its mammoth 8 minute length, is the most conventional pop song of the EP. The first half with Clinco’s vocals is light-hearted and upbeat, while the second half where she duets with Cappiello is far more darker sounding. It’s not surprising that Cataldo Cappiello opted to enroll her full-time into Caelestis given her enchanting presence on this track.

That Cappiello is a gifted multi-instrumentalist was already apparent with the “Sky Shards” compilation, but each of these tracks is testament to his talents. Whether it is the light electronics, the fuzzy guitar riffs, piano licks or thick, oozing bass guitar lines – Cataldo Cappiello has a clear vision of where he wants to go with his music. The prominent bass guitar lines in the final part of ‘Spettri Metropolitani’ are one of the highlights of the album. Closing track ‘L’ha Chiamato Orizzonte’ almost sounds like Caelestis interpreting a Goblin song. It feels like “Nel Suo Perduto Nimbo” is a b-side to the upbeat “Sky Shards”. Cappiello’s studio processed vocals sound more like an afterthought than an actual integral part of the compositions. The exception to this is the track featuring guest vocals by Vera Clinco as it hints slightly at the transformation Caelestis would undergo once the line-up expanded. The more pronounced usage of percussion also hints that Cappiello was looking to add a human drummer at a future point, which indeed would come to fruition on the successive “Heliocardio” EP.