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Lucio Battisti - Lucio Battisti CD (album) cover


Lucio Battisti


Prog Related

3.39 | 19 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars The Italian prog scene has always fascinated me. Something about the sound of Italian lyrics combined with the folk sensibilities that tend to be prominent in the scene has always appealed to me quite a bit. Upon hearing that Lucio Battisti was considered a huge influence on the scene and furthermore that he had been called "The Italian John Lennon" I figured that I needed to check him out. So here's the first review in what will hopefully be a series.

I will preface this review by noting that this is not, by any stretch of the imagination, actual prog, in keeping with its "related" categorization. What we have here is lushly orchestrated Italian Pop, with audible influences from the crooners of the past, folk music and definite touches of the "britpop" sound that dominated the 60s.

"Un'avventura" starts the album off with an extremely catchy acoustic guitar lick before launching into a very nice theme that reminds me a little of the zombies. However, the song really kicks into high gear once some horns are added, and the track takes on a new life. We get some orchestration as well, and overall this is a stellar pop offering and an excellent opener.

"29 Septembre" is a more mellow affair. With a more minimal (but no less effective) arrangement featuring what sounds like a harpsichord (maybe? I'm not great at identifying sounds) and an acoustic guitar, Battisti's voice features prominently and of course it's up to the task. There's some very nice flute work as well.

"La mia canzone per Maria" feels very much like an uptempo folk number, but I can hear a lot of influence from the britpop scene here as well. Of course, Battisti switches it up by featuring a very nicely orchestrally backed chorus, and it's not hard to hear how this track could have influenced some of the RPI groups that were yet to come.

"Nel sole, nel vento, nel sorriso e nel pianto" features organ quite prominently, and because of this I think it sounds at least a little bit similar to some early Procol Harum. Very nice use here as well of string and horn sections.

"Uno in più" is another great track making use of organ, and has one of the best vocal performances on the album, which is really saying something given Battisti's general excellence in that area.

"Non e Francesca" is another downtempo song, and the thing I really notice about this one is the bass work. To be honest, the second half of this song is one of the proggier sections on the album, featuring what sound like manipulated loops and a great solo from what is perhaps a violin.

"Balla Linda" immediately begins with an extremely happy sounding chorus before delving into a slightly more melancholy sounding verse. I can hear a lot here that might have influenced later RPI bands, and this is personally one of my favorite tracks on the album.

"Per una Lira" sees yet another return to the organ as primary instrument, with some more horn work that I think really makes the track. Another really great vocal melody here as well that sticks out even in an album full of them.

"Prigioniero del mondo" sees Battisti pulling back a little bit from the belting of the last two tracks and singing in a little bit of a lower register, even going into some very raw sounding vocals in the second half.

"Io vivrò ( senza te )" I think probably sounds the most like RPI proper on the disk. With a very "symphonic prog" sounding chorus, Battisti turns in what may be his most emotional performance on the album.

"Nel cuore, nell'anima" is another song that starts off slow before picking up. Quite a few different melodies are used here, and there's some vocal harmonization near the end that works very well.

Finally, "Il Vento" closes the album off on a strong note, featuring very minimalistic verses consisting of little more than a high tone and some half-sung half-talked lyrics. However, there's also some very brief use of distorted guitar and towards the end the song really kicks up in intensity, nearly becoming hard rock.

Overall, this is an excellent pop album that features no filler and a lot of great songs besides. Though this is not strictly prog, I feel secure saying that this album would still be an excellent addition to a prog music collection, as it is of exceedingly high quality and no doubt great historical importance as well.

3.5/5, rounded up

VanVanVan | 4/5 |


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