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Franco Battiato - L'era Del Cinghiale Bianco CD (album) cover

L'ERA DEL CINGHIALE BIANCO

Franco Battiato

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.35 | 27 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

micky
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Continuing on with the wacky world of Franco Battiato....

Silly record companies.... you think someone lost their job after Battiato's 1978 album L'Egitto Prima Delle Sabbie landed on the desk of the head of the Ricordi label. Someone must have... and not long after the album was released. Battiato then lost his album contract. Thus ended his avant minimalism phase hahha. Signed to EMI in 1979 Battiato was ready to strike out again and record another album. Some friend or management probably reminded him that art and creative expression are all well and good, but that doesn't put food on the table or pays the bills hahhaha. The public was hungry for something they could sink their teeth into.. something other than the slivers of glass that L'Egitto Prima Delle Sabbie was.. but something with meat on them bones. Something that the public could enjoy. Never fear. As we have come to learn about Battiato through the 70's if there is one thing he is a master of... it is melody. The man has an ear for a great melody beyond most all musicians I have ever run across. Prog by 1979, even in the hotbed of prog that was Italy, had pretty much gone by the wayside. Most groups had folded.. many had changed styles completely... still others simply became more radio friendly. So did Battiato with this album. If the public wanted an album they enjoy. Battiato could deliver.. and on this ... his 9th album.. he delivered. A stunning album

The album of course is a complete 180 degree turn from his albums of the previous years and was more song orientated and focused on melody since 1972's Pollution. Joining him on the album was his collaborator from his last albums violinist Giusto Pio. He would begin a new more commercial phase which would be vindicated by the astounding success of 1981's La voce del padrone. Here on this album though... we see the beginnings of an incredible prolific and fascinating era of his music. More commerical to be sure.. but of such HIGH quality musically. Battiato being Battiato.. you didn't get mindless or uninteresting pop music but valid music that was still challenging and interesting... yet still retaining appeal to those who simply want to hear a great melody and something they can tap their feet to.

The album kicks off with a CLASSIC. An instantly recognizable title track. Anchored by the the violin of Pio and guitar of Alberto Radius. If the public and EMI wanted a song that could appeal to the public. Battiato struck gold on this one. Magic Shop is next, a light musical affair with Franco's touching vocals. Strade dell'est is a perky folk inspried song with Radius talking center stage. Luna Indiana is a nice instrumental with strong classical motifs and themes. Very good stuff and a reminder that art was what drove Battiato. Not putting out fluff. The next track is my favorite from the album. Il Re del Mondo which has a hypnotic melody that hooked me from the first listen. Wonderful song with a real sense of depth and atmosphere to it. Pasqua Etiope is next up and and is delicate song with delightful sax and piano and Battiato singing in what I believe is Latin. Stranizza D'Amuri closes the album with another ethnic musical journey this time to Sicily and it's music and sung in it's dialect.

After years of pushing the edge of avant music. Battiato stepped back some to traditional songs and frameworks yet still retained the sense of exploration with hynotic soundscapes and ethnic folk influences. A wonderful place for those who want to explore Battiato the master of melody. For me 4 stars.. I am a big fan of his more esoteric and avant works but so far this is my favorite of his later albums and this album has several songs that I'd put up with anything he had done before in the 70's for the ability to grab you and not let go. For the site.. can only give it 3 stars... it is the starting point for the 2nd phase of his career but might not appeal to hard core prog fans. Anything that reeks of accessibility and this album is... will not appeal to them. For those who want to hear good progressive music in discreet song structures I think would enjoy the album. Recommended.

Michael (aka Micky)

micky | 3/5 |

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