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Franco Battiato - Caffé De La Paix CD (album) cover


Franco Battiato


Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.33 | 15 ratings

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4 stars Franco Battiato is a performer who has undergone a number of fascinating career changes. Regardless of whether one finds a particular, or for that matter, any phase of Battiato's output to be appealing, one cannot deny that the man has put his art first.

Battiato has long been fascinated by Arabic culture and music, and Caffe de la Paix is an overt attempt to play homage to its influences on him. While the album is bookended by 2 mediocre pieces, the rest is top notch rock with undeniable middle eastern overtones and sophisticated arrangements. I confess that I do not always know in what language he is singing, and I know he tends to sing in multiple languages, so I suspect Italian and Arabic among others. This music is progressive by its very nature, by its originality, by its arrangements and by its attitude. Be forewarned that it is mostly mellow but that it never succumbs to sameness. The songs often introduce a theme and stick with it while new components, instrumental and vocal, waft in and out of the mix. The instruments are varied and include the traditionally orchestral as well as electronic.

Among the highlights are the one-two punch of Fogh in Nakhal and Atlantide, the languidly beautiful Delenda Carthago, and Lode all'Inviolato. In these, Battiato weds the ancient to the modern respectfully and without flash. Battiato has long been acknowledged as a pioneer in whatever he does, but he has rarely sounded so good in the process.

kenethlevine | 4/5 |


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