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Lucio Battisti - Anima Latina CD (album) cover

ANIMA LATINA

Lucio Battisti

 

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3.83 | 44 ratings

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Finnforest
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Iconic cover art for Lucio's "The Dreaming"

"Anima Latina" is oft-cited as Lucio Battisti's most progressive effort and also as his finest album. I personally cannot agree with the latter but I certainly agree that the album is something unique and special. By this time Battisti had released several commercially and artistically successful albums morphing from the pop/songwriter of the 1960s to more complicated work in the early 70s as he crossed over into RPI territory to some extent. With the release of "Anima Latina" he offered his most experimental work to date and frankly blew minds and expectations at the time, I have little doubt.

Anima is a richly arranged concoction of sounds, an album that really is more easily described by what it celebrates than by categorizing the sound with the usual compartments. While I do not understand the lyrics, a critical disadvantage on Battisti albums, Anima sounds like a celebration of youth, life, and cultural diversity. It breathes passion, it exudes energy and freedom, it sounds just like the iconic cover photograph tells you it sounds. In a nutshell it seems to attempt to give musical form to movement, dance, sunshine, and life. Highly complex and impeccably arranged tracks are filled with nuanced vocals, lots of brass, Latin rhythms, and lovely guitar work. It combines some of the traditional singer/songwriter Italian vibe with a downright funky, infectious attitude, and an obviously bold experimental desire to the push the envelope in a way similar to what Kate Bush tried with "The Dreaming" years later. The albums are completely different in style, but they possess the same sense of musical provocation and freedom.

Yet as well executed and unique as the album is, for me personally it is just a "good" album to actually listen to---it does not reach into my exceptional or masterpiece range. One of those many albums I appreciate much more on an intellectual level than a musical one---it's impressive yes, but I don't long to listen to it (and truthfully, The Dreaming was never my first Kate Bush choice either). I can understand why others love these kind of quirky albums and I agree that they are risks well taken. But in my experience there are many more satisfying RPI albums out there and other albums which employed horns earlier and with more satisfying results (even Italian ones like Rocky's Filj or Nicosia). And though I've only heard a half-dozen Battisti titles to date, "Anima" already places behind "Amore e Non Amore" in my book. I encourage everyone interested in RPI to check out "Anima Latina" and judge for yourself. At the very least it's a good album and it might be much more than that for many listeners.

Finnforest | 3/5 |

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