Re: "Hubris" - The song remained in the Broadjam.com Progressive Rock Top 10 chart for 6 months, debuting at #1 on March 23, 2003. It also appeared in the Rock (#7), Maryland (#1) and Mid-Atlantic (#5) Top 10 charts.
"The result of this debut was one magnificent work of symphonic rock that transmits an optimism beyond the common.....Very recommended and essential in your progressive library." - Descubre La Caja Pandora
"You like progressive music with influences from cult bands such as Genesis, Yes and others? Then Aethellis is for you! Aethellis is a mix of all the best things available in the prog world." - Radio Metal
Keyboardist/composer Ellsworth Hall took the Olde English antecedent of his first name ("Aethellis-worth") and has used it for his own project Aethellis, on which he plays all the instruments (keyboards, guitar, digi-drums/acoustic drum loops) and sings all the vocals.
Taking the traditional elements of progressive rock, Aethellis blends them with contemporary rhythms, sounds and styles.
"Hubris," a song from the Aethellis album debuted on March 23rd, 2003 in four Broadjam Top 10 Charts: Rock, Progressive Rock (at #1), Maryland (at #1) and Mid-Atlantic. It remained in the Progressive Rock chart for 6 months.
This sounds like the album Tony Banks should have made after A Curious Feeling. In fact a lot of this would fit well on Genesis’ 1980s albums as proggier pieces.
- Kinesis CD
This is one of those albums that I was tempted to dismiss on first listening as being too 'pop' or too 'superficial' to be taken seriously. After 2 or 3 listenings the layers started to emerge and the true beauty of the music started to become obvious!
- ZNR records
This project with a silly name is the brainchild of a single man named Ellsworth R. Hall. Many people would not give it a second thought. That would be their mistake. The album is the rare stone overturned that reveals a bounty of new revelations. The album is enjoyable and quite an achievement for a sole musician. It is surprising this individual has gone undetected. This album really deserves some attention.
- Josh Turner for The Music Street Journal
Aethellis surprised me with the music in this recording. Ellsworth Hall is the brain behind Aethellis and his trademark sound are the keyboards that start from the first second of the recording to create interesting melodies. And this melodies are sometimes more easy listening, sometimes more twisted but they always have an interesting progressive sound which I liked a lot. Ellsworth´s vocals are soft and melodic giving some of the compositions a hit format with memorable choruses. Most of the compositions here are long and I think that Aethellis develops carefully the music in such extension where he has place for developing all the ideas that the music here has. There is a seventies feeling here but with a much more modern sound that makes the music sound updated. This is pure melody full of interesting ideas.
- Federico Marongiu for Music Extreme
Even if there is an Aethellis touring band, on the CD all the music and singing comes from one man : Ellsworth R. Hall. He plays all instruments but his main focus is on the keyboards.
Listening to Aethellis brings me back about twenty years. Even though at times, some twists and turns make it obvious that this album is from the new millenium, there is always, in my opinion, a strong early 80's feel about this music.
In the letter sent to me with this promotional CD, Ellsworth Hall describes his music as Neo. I don't really agree because I do not hear much Marillion - IQ - Arena... in there, these bands being usually associated with the Neo sub genre of Progressive Rock.
The main influence I detect is Tony Banks, mainly his more progressive pieces from his solo albums. Hall's playing reminds me much more of Banks than of Wakeman or Emerson for example. Most of the songs on Aethellis would fit well on a Banks album, consisting mainly of a song based part followed by an instrumental section featuring a lot of keyboard soloing. A few exceptions, the beginning of Saint Augustus has a stong UK feel and Djibouti is an instrumental that somewhat reminds me of In that Quiet Earth from Genesis' Wind & Weathering.
As a singer Ellsworth Hall sounds a bit like Steve Hackett (another Genesis reference). His voice is not very powerfull but it is nice and he does not push it over it's limit.
I have truly enjoyed listening to this album and will put it again in my player. Hopefully Aethellis will find it's audience even though 80's inspired prog is not really the flavor of the day. There are sound samples on their website and the band plans on doing some touring in the east coast U.S. in early 2004. Check them out.
- Marc Roy for ProGGnosis
Aethellis' music is more like a cross between Tony Banks,
Alan Parsons and Rick Wakeman
- Lise (Hibou), The Prog Archives
Ellsworth Hall is the man responsible for the progressive rock band Aethellis, which got its name from the Old English antecedent of his first name "Aethellis-worth". I have to appreciate anyone who can pick up and excel at a variety of different instruments. And that's just what he does throughout the six songs on this album. While this is pretty much your standard progressive rock effort it's not something you just shrug off. The piano tune on "Hubris" totally makes this album.
- J-Sin for Smother.Net
Ellsworth Hall is an amazing multi-instrumentalist and vocalist. As a vocalist, he can be compared to the likes of Greg Lake and John Wetton.His music firmly lies somewhere between classic progressive rock and art rock camps. Although most of the compositions have a pop vibe to it, Ellsworth utilizes the longer song format to stay clear of being labeled mainstream. The Aethellis style is very melodic based and the keyboard is the main instrument in all songs. The only draw back is the drums or rather "digi-drums" but Ellsworth is the first one-man band to admit to using them. SO kudos to him and maybe he'll hook-up with a real drummer for the next release.
This is "Aethellis' " debut CD and with six tracks in various lengths, the CD clocks in around 48 minutes. Which to me is a perfect length for a debut. My favorite songs are: "Tie and Handkerchief" and "Final Affinity" Another highly recommendable release for 2003.
- Ron Fuchs for ProgNaut.com
I think most of our customers agree with that most "one man bands" tend to be a bit boring. Well, Aethellis is a one man band, but not at all boring. Logos Affinity keyboardist Ellsworth Hall plays keyboards, guitar and sings. The drums are of course programmed, but in a very tasteful way, and could just as well been the real thing. The music lies somewhere between Alan Parsons Project and Camel. Well crafted songs and Mr. Hall has also put a lot of effort into the production and arrangements.
- The Missing Piece
Let me say that this album touched me in so many ways. Aethellis manages to mix a decent blend on concept and melody with a synth / groove / layering of keys that had me wondering who I was listening to. There is very early Genesis, mid life Asia and a more recent John Young all included with his own brand of reality that has resulted in a truly very good album.
1. Tie and Handkerchief
Great opening, atmospheric leading to what? Nice piano the a nice groove and synth with Geoff Downes overlays and a great contribution to the prog rock world. More of it I say. It isn't rushed with vocals or changes of instrumental sounds in the first few minutes. It's allowed to flow. A real drummer could have helped but the effort of 'digi drums' (and percussion?!?!?) is as good as I've heard. Nice layering of sounds in the vocal breaks... did real well without a real guitarist. Great finish which leads to...
2. Saint Augustus
This track moved me. More church organ - HA!! Was this studio or produced it somewhere else?? Unfortunately the vocals were a bit too even here but the chorus really got going which helped lift the track (my perspective only). Love the bridges - and the lead breaks. I don't know what his religious loyalists are but a track that could be 'top and tailed' as a single. The ending of this track should be given to music students as a way to close off a track - great use of echo on the vocals.
Introduction sounds like it follows on from Saint Augustus and tends to flows from Track 2 and then changes direction as the tracks takes and number of changes. Great synth and atmospheric work to build tension. Almost Eastern feel. Then it morphs into an almost 'rif' feel from MAGUS (different artists / different time but similar feel) in the middle which blends into a Geoff Downes (New Dance Orchestra) series of chords which moved me more than you what to know. Top stuff and the best I've heard in a long time (tone up those Wakeman licks at the end - HA!!)
Great change of pace and acoustic piano at the start. Which leads to the track proper. Carol? Lost friendship? Very pastoral. I'd almost heard this track before. The layering of vocals is great and then it spirals into Part 2 of this track which follows the general melody but keeps exploring little nocks and crannies along the way.
A real change from the other tracks. Nice groove after the first part and not rushed at all. Almost Wakemanish. Is there such a word!?!?!?!? Great touch on the synths (Wakeman and Geoff Downes in the one track - good stuff!!!). Beautiful melding of electronic and acoustic overlays which is as good as 'Tumbleweed' [from Affini Logue]. One of the better instrumental tracks of 2004.
6. Final Affinity
Great start into a weirder section that gets a bit experimental but not 'over the top'. Disguising the vocal doesn't help (unfortunately) but the instrumental section after is a buzz - loved the guitar sound-a-like and the overlaying of sounds and bass work. The middle section seems to flow effortly from guitar to keys... But it's a long track and then the organ starts (same from Saint Augustus???) which leads into an almost early 'Journey to the Centre of the Earth' feel and into a great improv section. Then there is the light synths flowing over the top of a great groove and even better mid section.
By this time I want to listen again and again and again.
- Russell Hammond, Australia
First album of the North American multi-instrumentalist Ellsworth [Hall].
If we guided ourselves by the beginning of the disc we would say that we are before the presence of another progressive album, in this opportunity melodic, but progressive to the aim.
"Tie and Handkerchief" is a typical fusion of keyboards, synthesizers and electronic drums.
The second subject, "Saint Augustus", repeats the formula, loaded with keyboards of all types and traditional sounds very connected to Marillion. (Very good subject also, with melodies that stick to you from the first listening).
Nevertheless, from here, the album gives a turn of 180° to excellent ballads of piano like "Hubris", "Portal" and "Djibouti", accompanied by the melosa voice, in the best style of Ian [sic] Anderson of Yes; the voice being the best thing.
The end arrives next with "Final Affinity", which returns to progressive dyes of the beginning, this time with the inclusion of a variety of synthesizers and instruments as guitar and percussion under an appropriate environmental base for the occasion.
The first work of this American composer is approved, whom at the moment it prefers not to be classified in a particular style, but to follow in multifaceted footpaths.
- Alexis L. Berman for Planeta Rock, Argentina
I find the production excellent and the mix a pleasure. I particularly like "St. Augustus," but then any song that can incorporate the word "exacerbate" has got my vote.
- Robert Brun, Aire Apparent Studio
Before making a step on the path of solo activity, Ellsworth Hall was the member of Logos Affinity. The 47-minute Aethellis contains five songs and one instrumental composition, all of which Hall composed and performed alone. With the exception of the 12-minute closing song on the album: Final Affinity, all of the other tracks are from 6 to 8 minutes in duration. The music on the first four songs here represents an instantly accessible keyboard-based Neo Progressive. With the exception of "Saint Augustus" (2), which is a banal Pop-Art song much in the vein of those by ELP in the 1990s, all of them feature the bright solos and passages of synthesizer and piano. Both of the last tracks on the album: "Djibouti" and "Final Affinity," the first of which is an instrumental piece, are about a lushly orchestrated, quite diverse, and tasteful Classic Symphonic Art-Rock. These two are the best tracks here, even though "Final Affinity" features a few themes and solos resembling those on Rick Wakeman's Myths & Legends.
- Vitaly Menshikov for ProgessoR, Uzbekistan
A veteran of several bands, most noteably "Logos Affinity"" since the early 80s, keyboardist / vocalist Ellsworth Hall decided to dedicate himself to progressive music he composed himself in total. However there was the desire to keep the impression of a "band" album even though he played all the keyboard, guitar and drum parts and sang all the vocals. Thus, taking the Old English antecedent of his first name (Aethellis-worth, meaning owner of a noble estate), the Aethellis project was born in 2002. Aethellis takes the forms and feel of classic progressive rock and incorporates a contempary rhythmic feel. Rehearsals are planned to present the material from the new album live with a full band including Erik Marks on bass and Mark Van Natta on guitar. Ellsworth also creates music and sound effects for multimedia and composes for documentaries, industrials, animated shorts, and TV/cable spots. Ellsworth Hall is a North American multi-instrumentalist, the music that´s made by him, it floats around the Classical Rock and Art Rock, but both styles are intrinsically linked, taking advantage of the format's capacity for longer and complex compositions, with an extended instrumental explorations, where keyboards and electronic textures became indispensable in any rock band. Aethellis developed a musical style, where all the range in the compositions are around melancholy sounds of the keyboards, and all vocals are at times, very clean and very soft, other times, highly spirituals, elevating both kind of rock styles to a high level. You really hear a work where the influences follow the same line by musicians and bands as "Alan Parsons", "Rick Wakeman", "Procol Harum" and "Tony Banks", but adding their own musical blends and including special instrumental techniques, and a melodic substance that was heard many times in the years 80'. "Aethellis" is the first work with six tracks around 48min of nice songs. Recorded and engineered at Ellstudio, Timonium MD. All words and music by Ellsworth Hall. A special and particular attention to and my favourite songs are: "Tie and Handkerchief", "Hubris", "Djibouti" and "Final Affinity" (Is the best in best). The musician on this project is: Ellsworth Hall - Keyboards, Vocals, Electric Guitar, "Digi-drums". Indispensable work, high recommendable...
- Progressive Rock & Progressive Metal E-ZINE
"...stylistically diverse production. Imaginative use of synth exploring many different sound types."
- Broadjam reviews of "Hubris"