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Franco Battiato - Fetus CD (album) cover


Franco Battiato


Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.42 | 66 ratings

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4 stars The journey begins, - and what a journey! Franco Battiato has made a LOT of records in his time, but this is actually the best place to start IMO. "Fetus" would show signs of what was to come, from one of the most original and influential musicians out of the Italian prog scene during the 70´s. It pains me to see this album with a rating under 3. Not that I pay much attention to the ratings, but I certainly have found my fair share of incredible albums due to high rankings and general praise surrounding the given release( well I´ve been falsely swayed too - just for the record...).

"Fetus" is Franco Battiato´s first album and it shows. There is a playfulness and a childlike energy accompanying this release, and much like the sole album of Semiramis - it rather ads an unwieldy amount of quirky charm, instead of letting it fall flat on its face. The music is a combination of soft acoustic guitar, the beautiful voice of Battiato, and the ever present VCS3, that he would go on to use on his next 3 releases. I really love the way he plays that thing. Shifting from larval like textures - sluggishly creeping and crawling, - to high pitched squeeks sometimes approaching avant-garde territory. I also believe that "Fetus" employs an electronic rhythm device, such as you would hear on "Journey" by Arthur Brown´s Kingdom Come a whole year later. Aside from that, this is his most acoustic work, and at times it sounds like a very Italian folk album. Melody wise we are not far from the late sixties. Then again, some of the melodies here sound like lullabies you would sing to a child - only for the song to turn around with some creepy effects of that of early horror movies and scare the the living daylights out of the poor kid. The whole larval sound of this album is very much a Battiato trademark, which he would develop further during the next couple of years. It sounds strange, but this is the closest I can get to describing that special spice he flavoured his early servings with. On "Fetus", this enhances the whole embryonic feel of the record, whether you choose to look at the cover art or the clever introspective lyrics dedicated to Aldous Huxley (for once in my life, I have read the translation of lyrics in my RPI!!!). Even if you are indeed a non-speaker of Italian who has lost the gift of sight, - you will probably pick up this highly original characteristic of his.

By using "Fetus" as background music for the end of summer, the album transforms into an epilogue of the season, intertwining both blood red leaves and icy breezes with Battiato´s trembling voice. Making this album change course completely, bringing with it a mystical utopian reversible birth. -I love music that surpasses its own creators intentions. Though not a masterpiece, I can easily forgive this album for its, at times, rather bulky and clumsy way of fitting the musical jig saw pieces together. Beautiful and bulky - always standing in the shadows of its descendants.

Guldbamsen | 4/5 |


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