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Franco Battiato - Sulle Corde Di Aries CD (album) cover


Franco Battiato


Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.09 | 116 ratings

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5 stars Lovely avant-garde sound for getting lost

Battiato's "Sulle Corde di Aries" joins other albums like Sorrenti's "Aria" and Battisti's "Anima Latina" in that they are from the heart of the classic Italian prog period, but sound quite different from most of the "typical" RPI titles you will hear. Sulle Corde is an experimental blend of outside music influences riddled with savory touches of the RPI. You could find bits of Krautrock and avant-garde prog, spacey electronic, and jazzy interpretation. This is a beautiful and delightfully short album (gotta love a 33 minute album) which can feel detached and haunting, perhaps a bit cerebral and dry, but for the most part provides a unique contrast to the symphonic heavyweights of traditional Italian progressive rock. The first of only four tracks is the 16-minute "Sequenze e Frequenze." What an amazing piece of music, taking something that sounds a lot like Popol Vuh's droning soundscapes and injecting some Eastern music feel, perhaps some meditative sounds like Third Ear Band. Droning, river-flowing synth, ritual use of the voice, inventive acoustic guitar patterns. One of those tracks where you just let go of your self and drift. Mesmerizing and relaxing. However, this is certainly not for everyone. By today's standards of progressive rock, music like this could be considered boring or far too minimalist. Generally speaking (and of course exceptions abound) today's music is exciting but often uses large doses of crushing volume, melody, and/or easy-to-recall hook to make the experience completely accessible. Albums like Sulle Corde do not, relying on a listener who is patient and interested in getting lost, not found, in quiet moments.

Side two breaks the rest of the album into three tracks. These songs are a bit more immediate than side one but no less spellbinding for the musical seekers. "Aries" again has the comforting repetition for a spell before the calm is broken open by a mischievous saxophone solo. Contrast is all over the place, with the sax literally battling the acoustic guitar for your attention. "Aria di Rivoluzione" alternates two great vocals over cello, one being an uplifting Italian vocal, the contrasting one is a spoken-word German verse with a spooky feel akin to some of Doris Norton's spoken Jacula deliveries. The piece is relaxing and unsettling at the same time, always a sign of effective music in my view! The last track "Da Oriente ad Occidente" is very beautiful having a bit of operatic grandeur to the main vocal along with oboe and sprightly acoustic guitar, hand percussion creating the rhythm in the background. Here the last reference comes to mind, an important one, and that is the sort of free-world jazz improvisation of the band Oregon. At times throughout this album I am very much reminded of the acoustic/woodwind jazz sound of Oregon. And that is how I would sum up this unique recording. Fans of atypical RPI and fans of bands like Popol Vuh, Third Ear Band, and Oregon: you should be quickly adding this gem to your short list. If these groups do not appeal to you then I don't think you need to get this one.

All in all, the album has a very "holy" feel to it, a spiritual feel. It's like an ancient archeological find, a piece of art that is soothing and unsettling. It's about texture, ambiance, and is not about rock and roll songs. A masterpiece in my humble opinion.

Finnforest | 5/5 |


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