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Lucio Battisti - Anima Latina CD (album) cover

ANIMA LATINA

Lucio Battisti

 

Prog Related

3.83 | 35 ratings

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Guldbamsen
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5 stars Love

I love this album. I really do. It's the kind of album that sounds exactly how it looks. That grassy meadow with children playing around to the back-draft of a fading orangy sun. It stays with you throughout the album's playing time, that naive hippie feel. A shading to Anima Latina that oozes warmth and feel good vibes. Every time I put this album on, it's instantly summer, the trees have magically grown leafy fingers and a real sense of fragrant humidity fills the air.

There is indeed a 'warmth' to this album - a friendly hug - a thousand wet kisses - conveyed in sound. I've often mentioned Anima Latina as the single most well produced album ever made, and while that may be a little over the top(because let's face it: different musics call for different production values), I still am head over heels in love with this thing. Every instrument is audible, and that is a feat in itself considering just how many layers there are within the individual tunes. They come off unbelievably earthy - like had they been flown through time straight from the Woodstock festival just to get that little bit of extra umphh and feel to the proceedings.

Lucio Battisti is an iconic figure in Italy, today mostly known for his successful pop career though. Starting out as an outspoken singer-songwriter deeply enamoured with the psychedelic flourishes of the 60s, he quickly picked up on the equally progressive measures emerging with the prog rock age, more specifically the Italian side of things. His third outing fx entitled Amore E Non Amore featured most of the legendary PFM line up, and while it gave way to an altogether more exuberant instrumentation, the album itself still remained heavily rooted in the late 60s. Anima Latina has a whisp of the ol hippie sound as well, but like I mentioned earlier, this is much more felt in the manner in which it was recorded. It really does feel as if the entire cover art scene somehow was scooped out of nature and aptly placed inside the studio.

The songs themselves are carried on by Lucio's beautiful enigmatic voice, which I have come to love like a small child. I feel a strong connection with the man, whatever he sings, whatever frail and earth-shatteringly beautiful whisper he utters - I'm there, I get it - even if I don't understand a single word of what he's saying....... I feel him. Sometimes he reminds me of an Italian Neil Young. Although Lucio is far more velvety in his delivery, there's still a similar frail sensibility about him. Something that makes him feel more 'there'¨when he sings. It's as if he's right there beside your ear.

What's even better is that Battisti's vocals are backed up by the most wonderful funky, almost Motowny bass playing, acoustic folky guitars, crystal clear piano, brass section, flute, synthesisers, various congas and percussions, electric guitar and backing vocals to die for. Within the same song you'll find the moods go from huge big band funk rock, to intimate acoustic guitar encounters by candlelight in a matter of seconds, that is without sounding choppy or stitched together. Personally I think it's down to the songs actually being songs. This is not a wide variety of interesting fuga sections and inspired avantguardish piano stints awkwardly thrown together at the drop of the hat, but real, and at times, simple tunes made by a talented singersong writer.

I guess you could call this album progressive pop. The melodic nature of it almost feels too upfront to be considered as genuine rock music, yet there's still a fair few moments on here that'll have you stomping the ground. They're often relegated through the combination of the rhythm section doing it's funky jungle thang, whilst the trumpets and trombone toot wondrous lines that instantly feel memorable. This is the stuff I whistle and sing when I'm in a good mood - when I'm feeling like a million bucks about to go surfing on rooftops and climb trees in exotic suburbs. Again, it's that infinitely lovable melodic core of this record. Whether the music is going through folk, jazzy bits, funk or great big symphonic laden piano gulps, it's always there. So yeah call it pop for all I care - I call it music, and damn fine music at that!

I've had this album for about 4 years now, and it has quickly become one of my most beloved musical treasures. Any time I need a friend, I pop this baby on and feel like I just stepped out on that grassy meadow - leaving all my troubles behind and start to enjoy life the way I did back when I was a small boy, who could spend countless of hours jumping up and down for no reason at all. It's that same naive joy this album has. In spades! It reminds me of a simpler world - a world of playfulness and a deep affectionate immersion in whatever you decide to do with yourself.

Guldbamsen | 5/5 |

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