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Franco Battiato - Come Un Cammello In Una Grondaia CD (album) cover

COME UN CAMMELLO IN UNA GRONDAIA

Franco Battiato

Rock Progressivo Italiano


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andrea
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars There's no trace of rock in this album... Battiato's interest in classical music here is almost overwhelming: no drums nor guitars in the line up, just piano, strings and orchestra... The result is not completely convincing and at length this work could seem a little bit pretentious...

The opener "Povera patria" (Poor Fatherland) begins with a delicate arpeggio of piano and the soaring voice of Franco Battiato... "Poor Fatherland! Crushed by the abuses of power of some infamous people / Who don't know what decency is..." Lyrics deal with the difficult social and political situation of Italy in that period and draw almost a kind laic prayer... A great track, but in my opinion the rest of the album is not at the same level...

The following three tracks are not bad... "Le sacre sinfonie del tempo" (The sacred symphonies of the Time), "Come un cammello in una grondaia" (Like a camel in a gutter pipe) and "L'ombra della luce" (The shadow of the Light) are quiet and mystical although rather sad... "I know that behind every violence there's the Evil / If I were a little bit shrewder I would avoid temptations / The sky weighs like lead tonight / How many pains and useless sufferance..."

The last four tracks are classical lieder interpreted by Battiato... "Schmerzen" (Richard Wagner), "Plaisir d'amour" (Johann Paul Aegidius Martin), "Gestillte Sehnsucht" (Johannes Brahms) and "Oh sweet were the hours" (Ludwig Van Beethoven) in my opinion are frankly boring: when Battiato sings in German, French and English his pronunciation is not perfect (just to use an euphemism)... Probably his interpretation was intended to be an "hommage" to the classical composer, but here it risks to seem a kind of "profanation"...

In the whole an album recommended only for Battiato's die hard fans...

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Send comments to andrea (BETA) | Report this review (#101813)
Posted Wednesday, December 06, 2006 | Review Permalink
memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Sometimes what you feel about the album and the rating may be different, i remember an old thread where people said how come a reviewer state an album is good while the rating was 2 stars, the answer is simple, because 2 stars means collectors and only fans, it doesn`t say "bad nor terrible". I am saying that because this time i am experiencing that, this album is very enjoyable for me, i could listen to itseveral times and its nice, but i would only recommend it for fans of Battiato career.

I am far from being an expert of Franco Battiato history or career, so i am not the right person to talk about him as a reference point, anyway, i could warn you that this artist has passed through different phases, if you are new into his music, you will notice that "Fetus", "Clic", "Battiato" and this album (just making a bad comparision, for instance) are all of them very different from each other, some of them showing a clear rock element, making some progressive moments, and others like this (and as Andrea Parentin pointed out in his review) have no rock element within the music; in some cases you can enjoy all the artist`s phases, no matter the commercial success or the lack of your favorite element on it, you just enjoy them, that`s it. Right now, i find myself to be involved in that case, though i am sure there might be an album by him that i wont like, so far i DO enjoy all of his albums i`ve listened, some more than others, naturally, but that is what makes better an artist, you can like it no matter the difference between one album to other.

Well let`s talk about the album itself, this one i got it in a local store but i wasn`t meaning to buy it, actually i had never heard this title before, but when i saw it and also the price was nice, i decided to buy it and i dont regret of that. This album features 8 sweet ballads which actually may be pretty similar to each other, all of them are short songs and the album`s lenght reaches only 32 minutes.

There are no guitars, nor bombastic keyboards, not even drums so you can imagine this album is really soft and with no prog rock element at all, however, you will find some pleasant moments led by Franco`s melancholic vocals which in some moments causes the feeling of either sadness or depression, i wish i could learn Italian faster in order to understand the whole lyrics, i am sure that would make a better listen, though.

There also are no outstanding moments, as i said above, the songs are pretty alike, so is the atmosphere and instrumentation, worht mentioning is the fact that this album features an orchestra, which can be noticeable in track 5 "Schmerzen" which i believe is sung in German, this is one of my favorite moments along with the first song "Povera Patria" which to my ears is beautiful. I am used to review song by song, but in some albums i think it is not necessary, i could say that this album is divided in 2 parts, the first 4 songs which are sung in Italian and which are very alike, and the last 4 songs which are tracks inspred by classical composers and sung in different languages.

As the lenght of this album is short, sometimes i have listened to it 2 or 3 times in a row, i enjoy it, but i am sure the majority of you may find it completely boring and with no sign of enjoyment, that is why i will give it 2 stars, because its only for fans and collectors, if you are one of them, then try it and enjoy it, or not.

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Send comments to memowakeman (BETA) | Report this review (#155663)
Posted Sunday, December 16, 2007 | Review Permalink
octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
2 stars A Persian scientist of the XII Century was used to say "I live like a camel into a gutter" to show how is language was inadequate to speak of science. This is where the album's title is from. The cover is a paint of Battiato himself who has signed it with his arabic nickname.

It's a very short album as almost all in his production with 4 "minimal" songs on the A side and the arrangement of 4 lieders on the B side.

If the four songs can't be considered as classical music, all the instrumentation is classical and also the melodies have an operistic touch. Of the four the best is the last: "L'Ombra Della Luce" (Light's Shadow) both as music and lyrics.

The B side is classical music, with Battiato singing in German on themes of Wagner and Brahms , in Engllish on Beethoven and in French on the lieder of the less known (at least by me) Johann Martin.

This album can be seen as a prelude to Battiato's big opera "Gilgamesh" and had an unexpected "quite" good result in terms of sales.

From a progressive point of view it's not much interesting and I have to say that even as classical music I've heard better things. This album falls in the same "twilight zone" of the opera written by Roger Waters "Ca Ira": not enough rock and not enough classical so that everybody is disappointed.

My rating is not going to change the average.

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Send comments to octopus-4 (BETA) | Report this review (#763446)
Posted Monday, June 04, 2012 | Review Permalink

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