Runaway Totem's seventh studio effort is the second recorded as a duo: Esameron — full title: 4 Elementi 5: I° Movimento–Esameron — follows a three-year gap that led some to estimate the Totem's days were done. Guitarist-vocalist-keyboardist Cahal De Betel (real name: Roberto Gottardi) and drummer-keyboardist Tipheret (real name: Germano Morghen), both original members, employ plenty of samples and sequencing to fill things out — no guest players or vocalists this time — and the end result is quite organic in feel. Choirs galore lend a gothic air and the music's Zeuhl taint is sufficiently angular and alternately jarring and soothing.
Throughout the three epic, mostly instrumental compositions and a more compact cut, the spectre of improv looms as the Totem negotiates a labyrinthine path through symphonic and jazz-rock regimes — avant is implied but the multi-sectional structures, Frippian guitar caterwauling and ambient interludes aren't all that weird. Rather, "Lux" would be a nice fit against macabre schemes in an Argento or Bava film, and indeed the influence of Frizzi is detectable. Incidentally, the album's finest moment occurs halfway through the final, longest piece: a drifting, shimmering mantle of fuzzy synth pads manifests in the album's quietest segment, as though a limb off the Tree of Schulze had broken off and floated downstream. The inevitable spooky choirs return, followed soon by a piano-and-drums crescendo that leads to the suite's outro. Yes, the second half of "0 Infinito 1" is a sublime speck lurking in a patchwork of missteps and predictable detours.
Esameron may not be the best place to start exploring Totemworks, but fans of Ensemble Nimbus, mid-period Birdsongs Of The Mesozoic and even select Black Widow acts like Devil Doll and Standarte will find this newest entry a worthy one.
1. De Cause Prime (21:12)
2. Ombra Alata (8:14)
3. Lux (L'Albero Del Sole) (16:28)
4. 0 Infinito 1 (23:46)
Total time – 69:40