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Lucio Battisti - Amore e Non Amore CD (album) cover


Lucio Battisti


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3.87 | 31 ratings

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4 stars A bit spicier, this tale of two albums

Lucio Battisti's second album (not counting the collections package "Emozione") came out in the summer of 1971 and as the album cover conveys, it came with a shift to the spicier side of melodic Italian rock (and of more interest to proggers). His first two albums were well stocked with pleasant pop tracks of varying quality, the debut slightly stronger than "Emozione" in my view. On this venture Lucio gets decidedly wilder and more interesting, incorporating a bit of a swagger and a musical curiosity which crosses a bit into the RPI scene that was beginning to ferment across Italy. It was also the first of many striking album covers, showing a young Battisti looking sullen and hung over beneath a tree, like the morning after some wild party. The woman behind him was rumored for years to be his girlfriend and eventual wife, but in 2007 she came forth and stated that it was not her. By this time Battisti and his lyricist Mogol were already working at their own label project Numero Uno, but this one came out on Ricordi who still had claim to their tracks.

The All Music Guide calls the sound "tight and crisp, yet loose enough to allow for improvisation and pure groove. It's great, affecting rock music: the two guitars and the piano play off and with one another while the bass, drums, organ, and the occasional orchestral arrangement add a warm rhythm that moves the song along with concentrated and direct feeling."

"Dio Mio No" sounds like the party of the previous night, a crackin' opening 7 minutes of foot stomping fun. Battisti's vocal is manic and on the edge, set to a frenetic bass line and acoustic jam with just a touch of keys along the edges. Pure energy from a band line-up that features such future heavyweights as Franz Di Cioccio, Flavio Premoli, Franco Mussida, and Alberto Radius. The second track is a fairly avant instrumental, wily and not traditional in its feel, it is perhaps the earliest evidence of the experimentations to come. This is a tale of two albums. The album alternates four vocal tracks with four instrumental ones giving it added dimension and a split personality. To emphasize the effect the four instrumentals are given very long, poetic titles which appear to be simply describing moments in time, allowing the sounds to tell the rest of the story. Which they do----in particular I found the stunning "7 agosto di pomeriggio. Fra le lamiere roventi di un cimitero di automobili solo io, silenzioso eppure straordinariamente vivo" to be the most impressive Battisti composition to date. A post-psych daydream that captivates a moment like Floyd's "A Pillow of Winds" does on Meddle. The third instrumental piece combines strings, piano, and organ into a tussle between calm and tension, quite lovely. The fourth piece is a mélange of a laid back "doo do doo" vocal with building strings and organ, a perfect finale to this feast.

The tracks that separate these esoteric instrumentals are relatively basic rock tracks, but Battisti has this nervous minimalist energy that provides such a unique vibe. Hard to explain, they rock hard but not in a Jimmy Page/John Bonham way, but rather with a personal style as unique as Zappa was in the 60s. Iconic, stripped down, but with some bite, some verve. I think it could be best compared to what Lindsey Buckingham concocted with his tracks on Tusk. Think about stuff like "Not That Funny" or "That's Enough for Me."

And so "Amore e non Amore" attempts to sandwich these two distinctly different half albums together by alternating the two styles rather than separating them by side. It's not the choice I would make because I would prefer the continuity of each style independently, but Battisti was always doing things his own way. I cannot take points away for that, although some might. I believe this is Battisti's first great album and perhaps the perfect starting point for prog fans wanting to sample this related artist. Get this one along with "Anima Latina" and you will know if Lucio Battisti is for you.

Finnforest | 4/5 |


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