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Franco Battiato - Fetus CD (album) cover

FETUS

Franco Battiato

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.35 | 50 ratings

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zravkapt
Special Collaborator
Post/Math Rock Team
4 stars This is the first album from Italian singer/songwriter Franco Battiato. He would later on be known for his pop songs(his background) but he started out his career releasing weird albums that just got weirder. He was one of the first Italians to experiment with synthesizers and some of the music on this album is very ahead of it's time. Fetus is dedicated to writer Aldous Huxley and the cover (cute isn't it?) was originally censored. This does sound like someone's first attempt at making an album, although that's part of it's charm. Franco I believe does all the keyboards and vocals, while others do the rest.

The music here is not your typical RPI fare and in some cases probably has more in common with Prog Electronic or Krautrock than most Italian prog. The album begins with the sound of an actual heartbeat, as opposed to the bass drum mimicing a heartbeat that ELP and Floyd would do not long after this was released. A great melody on synth is played for the majority of the title track; it gets reprised later in the song "Energia." "Una Cellula" is probably the best song and you can listen to it on PA. Great synth sounds and melodies, especially after the first minute. This song is almost entirley synths, percussion and vocals. Nice soloing on synth at the end.

"Cariocinesi" features some old time sounding music; early jazz style guitar and some early country style violin playing. Along with some electronic percussion. Not really any synths at all in this song. "Energia" opens with children talking before that cool melody on synth from the title track is reprised. About a minute and a half the music fades out and is replaced by a new section. More good synth soloing. Some organ at the end. "Fenomenologia" begins with acoustic guitar playing something I've heard before in a much later song. Later on some pounding drums and banjo while Franco does some of his best vocals on the album. Towards the end is some nice acoustic guitar and what sounds like speed altered 'mmm, mmm, mmm' type vocals.

"Meccanica" opens with a repeated figure on a keyboard. It is followed by a melody and later on some drum rolls and vocals you would find on Il Balleto di Bronzo's Ys album. The music fades out and changes to acoustic guitar, electronic percussion and violin. Some bass joins in. Then organ. Franco's vocals are modified and you hear backwards sounds. A little burst of fuzz guitar in there. Awesome yet creepy ethereal voices give way to NASA astronauts talking about the moon. What sounds like an old record of Bach music is played over top. A highlight of the whole album.

"Anafase" begins with vibraphone and vocals before acoustic guitar and background harmony vocals. Nice piano melody. As usual by now, the music fades in and out, being replaced or joined by synth sounds. Then a piano crash similar to Floyd's "Sysyphus." It gets really quiet and spacey in the middle. Near the end some organ is played and the music stops. Then more acoustic guitar playing the beginning of "Fenomonologia." "Mutazione" has great guitar chords. More pounding drums later. Probably the most 'normal' sounding song on the album.

This is some great RPI but I'm not sure what fans of PFM or Le Orme would think of it. Definately on the more experimental end of Italian progressive rock. His next couple of albums are similar but more refined. The music can be spacey, melodic, folky, symphonic or just plain weird. One of the best prog releases from early 1970s Italy. 4 stars.

zravkapt | 4/5 |

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