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Franco Battiato - Sulle corde di Aries CD (album) cover

SULLE CORDE DI ARIES

Franco Battiato

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.03 | 94 ratings

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octopus-4
Special Collaborator
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
4 stars Just before starting a period of musical collages and minimalistic music, Battiato releases this album that's probably the best of his psych-progressive period. The sung part of the long "Sequences and Frequences" contains already hints of his pop period to come, but all the rest of the sixteen minutes is really amazing. A repetitive electro- acoustic base with some middle-eastern influences sounds as Krautrock. There are also small parts, like the intro, where I hear a bit of Zeuhl influence (It's the same year of Kontharkosz). The most of the instrumental part is based on just one single major chord with keyboards, kalimba and percussions playing all the possible harmonics and variations with an effect very similar to Terry Riley's "In C". After 11 minutes, when percussion and kalimba stop, the middle-eastern flavor of the keyboard reminds to the early Floyd, in particular the few songs on which the band has let Richard Wright express himself like in the coda of Cirrus Minor..

So forget RPI. The only typical Italian thing in this track are the lyrics. The title is more about the musical contents (sequences and frequences), but the lyrics are just some flashes about a young child (I think self-biographical) during summers and winters. Contemplative, sery in line with the music.

"Aries" starts even more minimalistic. Four notes of a keyboard, suddenly replaced by guitar and percussions. This song is close to the Pink Floyd of the Zabriskie Point period, also because of the psychedelic mood of the song. Probably, more than Floydian, it's a mixture of western psychedelia and middle-eastern music. I think to the Dervish dancers. In the second half of the song a sax cries jazzy notes. Everything on just two major chords. I think "C-Bb" So let's say, a first half western and a second half German.

"Aria di Rivoluzione" (Hints of Revolution) is probably self-biographic as well. It's about the second world war. He tells of "Abissinia", now Ethiopia and Somalia that were Italian colonies and the war in Europe, with a German woman speaking like a Radio-news speaker, then he sings few words about his generation and hints of revolution (probably "Revolution in the air" would be a better translation). Musically is quite similar to the previous track: very good psychedelia.

"Da Oriente ad Occidente" (From East to West) says of a son whos asks his father the permission to leave. A mention to a "Volcano which will show the way in the darK" is another self-biographical reference. Battiato is from Catania, a town just below the Etna volcano. After those few words the rest is instrumental. Try to imagine Syd Barrett playing together with a band of Hashishins of the central Asia. There's a strong oriental flavor, specially in the instruments and sounds used, but the base is very Floydian. I remember him mentioning the early Pink Floyd as influencers during a concert many years ago.

As I have written above, more than RPI, this is an album for fans of early Floyd or Krautrock. After this one, he went more avantgarde and minimalistic, but this is another story.

octopus-4 | 4/5 |

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