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Franco Battiato - Fetus CD (album) cover


Franco Battiato


Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.42 | 66 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Italian Prog Specialist
2 stars A bit more naive, playful and innocent than Battiato's breakthrough and sophomore album Pollution, that's for sure, but still filled with a lot of the enigmatic qualities that signifies that record.

Touches of the man's background in the lighter and poppier 'singer/songwriter' school of artists are quite frequent, being lighter in construction, often just a simple textural backing together with vocals elaborating on top - it reduces the distancing of his compositions and gives a more personal, up-close perspective to the otherwise reclusive music I'd have expected. Fetus generally feels a lot more outgoing and traditional in that sense. The nostalgia (in part due to the samples used here) I tend to sense with Battiato is presented more actively and tangible and motives of emotion is a lot more easily pinpointed and detected throughout, making it closer to 'normal' song writing and structure in many cases. Take for example Cariocinesi, which is a rather straightforward composition with standard drumming and bass, with a part joyous, part ironic violin melody swirling over it. It's just not what you'd expect.

It's a naked record, in production and sound, and simply put, a bit lacking in depth on many levels. Nothing but drums and synth is a recurring concept. However controversial the artwork or topic might be, there's no real integrity on many of the songs, being too pleasing and shallow in musical presentation and emotional content, creating a torn and confusing impression of it all. The experimentations - there sure is some - fails to captivate in their haphazard, unruly distribution. Certainly impulsive and genuine in intention, they too often feel like blunt and blatant attempts at "proper" avant-garde stuff, strewn out in a lazy and for lack of a better word, cowardly, fashion. Don't take it wrong, the intentions are most certainly genuine, but in restraining himself from fully taking the plunge, the otherwise so effective chock effect of meeting confusion with more confusion is lost, with Battiato trying to write songs while ignoring structure at the same time and the end-result thus turns out to be that he gets the job half-done in two different ways. The omnipresent VC3 is delivering symphonic melodies, psychedelic waves and experimental effects quite freely, but unfortunately in a rather random way, making it clash with the rest of the music now and then, which further proves that it's mostly the compositional skill that needs to be honed before the full potential of the ideas presented here can be given the life of their own the musicians aim and hope for.

Not bad, but it can and will be much better. Throughout the albums thirty minutes, I find myself thinking that if you picked out the best parts of it all and put them together in a tasty and effective way, you could end up with some ten or twelve minutes of the best material on Pollution, and that is simply not enough. In spite of being so short, it still manages to suffer from a lot of deadweight.

Fans would most certainly be interested in what Fetus have to offer, if only to study Battatio's evolution, but the more casual listener does right in heading straight for his more interesting and refined later works.

2 stars.


LinusW | 2/5 |


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