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Franco Battiato - Mondi lontanissimi CD (album) cover

MONDI LONTANISSIMI

Franco Battiato

Rock Progressivo Italiano


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andrea
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars "Mondi lontanissimi" was an album of transition. Less synthetic pop and more classical influences and acoustic instruments... Franco Battiato interest for classical music was growing (in 1987 he released his first "opera", "Genesi"), but the commercial pop side of his discography here is still present and this album seems a kind of compromise...

The opener "Via lattea" (Milky Way) is very good, with a beautiful melody upon a marching beat rhythm and an inspired strings arrangement; lyrics are about an imaginary journey through the Milky Way... Good also the two following tracks "Risveglio di primavera" and "No Time No Space" (partially sung in English), pop songs with a peculiar classical flavour...

"Personal Computer" is more experimental but not completely convincing... Not bad "Temporary Road", with an almost "renaissance-style" beginning sung in English and funny Italian lyrics about traffic jams in the second part more "pop oriented"... The last original track is the final "L'animale", with introspective lyrics and a beautiful melody soaring upon a classical-like arrangement... "Inside of me there are signs of fire / It's the water that extinguish them / If you want to make them burn / Leave them in the air / Or on the ground..."

To complete the album (short as usual in Battiato's discography) there are two new versions of songs originally released as singles, "Chan-son egocentrique" and "I treni di Tozeur" (very successful pop songs, but I prefer the original versions in duet with the pop singer Alice)... There is also a new version of "Il re del mondo" from the album "L'era del cinghiale bianco" (frankly useless, the original version is definitely better)...

In the whole not a perfect album but with some good moments and surely interesting for the fans of this artist...

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Send comments to andrea (BETA) | Report this review (#101325)
Posted Friday, December 01, 2006 | Review Permalink
Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Not exactly 'Sulle Corde' is it?

I knew sampling mid 1980s Battiato would be as fraught with peril as almost everything else from this period, when many artists seemed to lose their minds and their sense of purpose. It's been debated whether this was a case of the artists leaving the fans, or the fans leaving the artists. From where I stood, and many of my friends, we still wanted good music. When our favorite artists started releasing crap, it certainly wasn't because we were demanding it. We simply tossed the 90125s of the world into the bin while waiting for them to come to their senses. Prog rock would return and these days the new crop of artists prove the fans were right, releasing adventurous material almost as satisfying as the old days ('almost' being the key word.)

'Mondi Lontanissimi' is a very short album (31 minutes) of short, mostly trite little pop songs. There really is nothing of interest here to fans of Battiato's progressive work other than curiosity factor. It's not that the album is dreadful or poorly done, it just simply can't break free from one 3 minute nicety after another. Predictable and stock verse/chorus/verse structures with typical rhythms and period hardware, not helped by Battiato's average vocal prowess. One nice element is the occasional strings that grace the melodies but everything fades before becoming truly emotional or grand. There is one song that saves the album from the bin for me. 'Personal Computer' has an off-kilter vibe, a bit Talking Heads rhythm-wise, accented by a few weird moments and some nice operatic choir backing. But as our Andrea correctly notes, it is still 'not completely convincing,' three words that sum up the whole album for me.

For Battiato fans only, or fans of 80s pop with an Italian flavor.

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Send comments to Finnforest (BETA) | Report this review (#418222)
Posted Saturday, March 19, 2011 | Review Permalink
octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
3 stars I remember Franco Battiato on stage the year he released this album. He was playing his most pop stuff and was very acclaimed by the crowd, but at a certain point he started speaking of his early years, just to introduce "Pollution". It was evident that even if he was clearly satisfied of his success from a commercial point of view he was regretting the lost freedom and for an artist who few years before was laid off from his label because too experimental this period was a real contradiction.

"Mondi Lontanissimi" (Extremely Far Worlds) is an enhancement respect to the previous "Orizzonti Lontani". At least the lineup includes Alberto Radius at guitar and Giusto Pio's violin is replaced by Alfredo Riccardi's cello. The songs are still on the pop side of Battiato, specially the hit single "No Time No Space", but some different influences are starting to (re)appear.

"Via Lattea" (Milky Way) is radio-friendly and too melodic for my tastes but is different from the previous material. The spacial subject gives him the possibility of adding some spacey background sounds and the song is far from the usual 80s uptime rhythms of the previous albums. Not a masterpiece but something is changing.

"Risveglio di Primavera" (Spring Awakenings) is midway. It starts as 80s electropop but develops in a most proggy way. Still very radio-friendly and with the usual nearly nonsense and hermetic lyrics but not bad.

The already mentioned "No Time No Space" was the hit single but is also the most interesting track of the whole album. It's a sort of krautrock with classical interludes and a captivating chorus. The track that I would include in a compilation.

If it wasn't for the very experimental albums released in the late 70s I'd define "Personal Computer" an experimental song. I think it's just an attempt to make his actual public a bit used to the experiments for future releases.

"Temporary Road" is opened by cello and voice and has a baroque flavor. Half of the song is passed when it becomes fully electronic. The melody doesn't change and it's like he wanted to show how the arrangement can change a song into a totally different one. Interesting but not exceptional with Mozart included in the final.

"Il Re del Mondo" (World's King) even being on the pop side of Battiato is another very interesting track from a musical point of view: a chord changes from major to minor and back a number of times before the song begins, then it becomes a sort of instrumental chorus. The soft drumming is very hypnotic (Mason and Fenn will later put plenty of this drumming in their album).

"Chanson Egocentrique" is the other album's hit. I remember that I didn't find it very good actually but the reason of its mainstream success is likely because of the arrangement as it's the song most in line with the actual electronic standards. Not bad but before relistening to this album for the review I have to confess that I had forgotten it.

"I Treni Di Tozeur" (Tozeur's Trains) was another successful track, specially for the baroque cello and the cymbal(electronic this one). In that period in Italy a classical ensemble called "Rondo Veneziano" had a very big success with baroque music with electronic arrangements and the mainstream public was used to this kind of sounds. This song is apparently belonging to that genre but in my opinion it is miles better.

"L'Animale"(The Animal) is just a short closer, but the piano and cello base has something of the old things. Too few, unfortunately, but it's not bad as closer.

In brief this is another non-essential album but is surely better than its closer predecessors. Battiato is about to renew himself for the third time in his very long career.

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Send comments to octopus-4 (BETA) | Report this review (#747977)
Posted Thursday, May 03, 2012 | Review Permalink

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