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Franco Battiato - Caffé De La Paix CD (album) cover

CAFFÉ DE LA PAIX

Franco Battiato

Rock Progressivo Italiano


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andrea
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars "Caffé de la Paix" is an album of ethno-rock with strong classical influences... In this work the use of electric guitars, keyboards and drums come back in the music of Franco Battiato, along with the use of choirs and ethnical instruments, but "the classical inspiration" and the use of strings, horns and piano is still present... The result is good...

The mood of the opener title track is oneiric and mystic, with strings in the forefront and the use of emphatic choirs to underline some passages... "Fogh in Nakhal" (On the palms) is a traditional song from Iraq arranged and sung in Arab by Battiato... "Atlantide" (with words written by Fleur Jaeggy) is about the mythical continent vanished into the sea and has an almost hypnotic feeling... "Sui giardini della preesistenza" (On the gardens of the pre-existence) is more quiet and reflexive... "I sing again the Good and the splendours of the halcyon days..."

The music flows steadily, surprisingly varied and far from any commercial banality... "Delenda Carthago" has a slow marching beat and an oneiric mood, it's partially sung in Latin and lyrics suggest images of the ancient Romans spreading their civilization... "Ricerca sul terzo" is a kind of raga featuring ethnical acoustic instruments like tabla, sarod and tampoura, strings and more experimental sounds... "Lode all'inviolato" (Praise to the Inviolate) is about the need to "weather the storms" to reach wisdom and joy, it begins with strings and choirs and features a classical atmosphere evolving in a pop rock finale... The final "Haiku" is quiet and ethereal and features some verses in Persian...

In the whole a good album, although perhaps not essential in a prog collection...

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Send comments to andrea (BETA) | Report this review (#101900)
Posted Wednesday, December 06, 2006 | Review Permalink
kenethlevine
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog-Folk Team
4 stars Franco Battiato is a performer who has undergone a number of fascinating career changes. Regardless of whether one finds a particular, or for that matter, any phase of Battiato's output to be appealing, one cannot deny that the man has put his art first.

Battiato has long been fascinated by Arabic culture and music, and Caffe de la Paix is an overt attempt to play homage to its influences on him. While the album is bookended by 2 mediocre pieces, the rest is top notch rock with undeniable middle eastern overtones and sophisticated arrangements. I confess that I do not always know in what language he is singing, and I know he tends to sing in mutiple languages, so I suspect Italian and Arabic among others. This music is progressive by its very nature, by its originality, by its arrangements and by its attitude. Be forewarned that it is mostly mellow but that it never succumbs to sameness. The songs often introduce a theme and stick with it while new components, instrumental and vocal, waft in and out of the mix. The instruments are varied and include the traditionally orchestral as well as electronic.

Among the highlights are the one-two punch of Fogh in Nakhal and Atlantide, the languidly beautiful Delenda Carthago, and Lode all'Inviolato. In these, Battiato weds the ancient to the modern respectfully and without flash. Battiato has long been acknowledged as a pioneer in whatever he does, but he has rarely sounded so good in the process.

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Send comments to kenethlevine (BETA) | Report this review (#125619)
Posted Tuesday, June 12, 2007 | Review Permalink
octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
3 stars After the excellent , maybe a bit pretentious Gilgamesh, Battiato makes a half step back to the 80s.

This "Cafe' De La Paix" is a return to the 35 minutes albums of electro-pop songs with cryptic lyrics, but some of the goodies of the last albums are infecting the pop. The orchestral arrangements are a mixture of classical and Arabic ethnic music which results, if you ignore the vocals, in that hypnotic soundscape for which I have often defined Battiato's music as Krautrock. With the vocals and the electronics the artsy pop becomes more relevant as they are the principal elements of his 80s output.

What I have written about the album applies completely to the title track on which I'm probably the only one who sees a musical relationship with a totally different Italian non- prog artist: Giorgio Gaber. Music only, not lyrics.

"Fogh In Nakhal" Is in Arabic. God knows what it means. It's an ethnic song. I don't know if it's a traditional or not. It's a good folk song on which the strings are still full of the mixtrue of classical and Arabian.

"Atlantide" (Atlantis) is about the lost continent. Zeus, Ades and Poseidon fight one against the other. It's a very interesting song, apart of the lyrics inspired to Plato, the music is based on just two chords but with the addition of noises, accents and soprano screams on lyrics without metrics. The Floydian guitar makes me think to the Eloy's Ocean masterpiece.

"Sui Giardini Della Preesistenza" is a strange title. It means "About the Gardens of the pre- being". And is a sort of religious hymn about the paradise lost with an orchestral opening which later develops in a radio-friendly melodic song. I think it's Lucifer regretting for the times before the rebellion and the fall. Interesting subject.

"Delenda Carthago" is musically similar to the previous song, quite a follow-up. It's a famous Latin sentence attributed to Cato which means "Cartagena has to be destroyed". Also this song has a middle eastern mood and a hypnotic progression. Part of the lyrics, the choral parts in particular, are in Latin. A very good song.

"Ricerca sul Terzo" (Research about the Third) is totally cryptic. Like a sort of Sufi dance featuring Indian instruments, it proceeds hypnotically with no percussion until the tablas are in. I think the third is the third Eye of the Indian tradition. Krautraga...A song that George Harrison would have surely liked.

"Lode all'Indiavolato" (Praise to the Demoniacal) Proceeds on the line started with Atlantide. Three repetitive chords and lyrics like "Paganini knew well that the Devil is sneaky and plays violin".

"Haiku" starts with a major chord and few piano (or harp) notes. When he starts singing the string orchestra accompanies him. It's a minimalist song very melodic. Who knows the early Battiato knows that this is his true music. The female vocalist sings apparently in Arabic (but the title should say that's Japanese). It's the good closure of this album.

The good of it is the continuity. It's not a concept album but the songs are very connected one to each other and if we look at the more pop oriented production of this artist, this one even far from the goodness of Gilgamesh is a very good one. Still non-essential, but very good.

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Send comments to octopus-4 (BETA) | Report this review (#773094)
Posted Monday, June 18, 2012 | Review Permalink

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