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Franco Battiato - L'ombrello E La Macchina Da Cucire CD (album) cover

L'OMBRELLO E LA MACCHINA DA CUCIRE

Franco Battiato

Rock Progressivo Italiano


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andrea
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars This album marks the beginning of the collaboration between Franco Battiato and the philosopher Manlio Sgalambro, who wrote all the lyrics... The music has strong classical influences with the use of operatic voices and choirs ("Un vecchio cameriere" is an elaboration from Haydn's quartet op. 64 n. 5) while the "rock side" is almost completely absent... You can find here some good ideas but the mood is a little bit "desolate and depressing" and at length this work risks to be a little boring...

The opener title track is quite interesting with keyboards and operatic choirs as a background for Battiato's vocals: "I was alone like an umbrella upon a sewing machine..." A good track with a mysterious feeling and hermetic lyrics... The second track "Breve invito a rinviare il suicidio" (Short request to postpone suicide) is more in a "pop vein" and features some electronic sounds and keyboards interacting with choirs while Battiato's vocals give you the suggestion to avoid suicide just because "this appearance of life does not deserve it": this is perhaps the most "cheerful" track on the album, along with the ironical and weird "Gesualdo da Venosa", dedicated to the famous Italian composer of madrigals (1560 - 1612) who killed his unfaithful wife and her lover because of "honour reasons", but "What does it matter? / His note strike / Sweet like a rose..." The other tracks flow without prise or blame, every now and then almost giving the idea of "landscapes without any idea of movement, where immobility echoes..." (words taken from "Moto browniano").

In the whole "L'ombrello e la macchina da cucire" is not a bad album, although it' not an essential one in a prog collection... Recommended only to the fans of the artist...

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Send comments to andrea (BETA) | Report this review (#102352)
Posted Sunday, December 10, 2006 | Review Permalink
octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
3 stars I recognize that this is surely not the best Battiato's album and effectively it looks like a missed opportunity of making a synthesis between the "kraut-experimental" and the pop periods of his music..

The album's structure is based on songs and the album is quite short as his pop releases of the 80s, but the music is totally electronic with classical influences and the quite usual presence of a soprano.

On this album Battiato seems to be very concentrated on the lyrics written by Manlio Sgalambro . I mean that it looks like the music has been written after the lyrics and on some tracks, especially on "Genualdo da Venosa" it seems that Battiato has struggled a bit to make the metrics fit in the music.

The title track, but most of all "Moto Browniano" and "Tao" are very high moments, in particular the first, but some songs are not so good to aim for the 4th star, some like "Piccolo Pub" and "Un Vecchio Cameriere" are for me below the third, instead.

My overall impression of this album is that it represents a moment of transition, an attempt of renewal not completely successful, but still good enough for who likes the early albums of Battiato.

The only exception is "L'Esistenza Di Dio" (The existence of God) which has initially a strong middle-eastern ethnic flavor. It's singular that a song which speaks of a philosopher studying theology in Leipzig has an Arabian/North African musical part in the first 3 minutes. Following a German woman speaks of theology over a soft keyboard layout later joined by a choir. In this part I'm reminded to Popol Vuh's "Hosianna Mantra" or to Vangelis of the late 70s.

In the end, highlights and lowlights of this album are balanced so the three stars rating seems to me the most appropriate.

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Send comments to octopus-4 (BETA) | Report this review (#797896)
Posted Wednesday, August 01, 2012 | Review Permalink

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