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Franco Battiato - L'Imboscata CD (album) cover


Franco Battiato

Rock Progressivo Italiano

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3 stars "L'imboscata" marks a new turning point in Franco Battiato's career. The mood is more cheerful if compared to the previous album "L'ombrello e la macchina da cucire" and the art cover, reproducing a wonderful painting of Antoine Jean Gros, "Bonaparte haranguant l'armée avant la bataille des Pyramides, 21 juillet 1798" contributes to suggest a sense of impending change...

The opener "Di passaggio" (Passing by) is about the never ending changes of life. It is introduced by recitative vocals in ancient Greek (the parts in Greek are taken from "The Fragments" of Heraclitus and from "The Epigrams" of Callimachus) and is a nice and almost ironic pop-rock track featuring an interesting electric guitar work. The following track "Strani giorni" (Strange Days) is more or less in the same mood with lyrics in English and Italian. You can find here guitars and electronic sounds but also Battiato's love for classical music and avant-garde. The third track "La cura" (The care) is a wonderful song of absolute love, my favourite one on this work.

The rest of the album streams fluently, the music is never banal and "experimental electronic pop moments" like "...Ein Tag aus dem Leben des Kleines Johannes" (sung in Italian and in German and featuring lyrics taken from Thomas Mann's novel "The Buddenbrooks: the Decline Of A Family") or "Splendide previsioni" alternates with bittersweet ballads featuring strings and a more "classical" atmosphere like "Amata solitudine" (with lyrics about a waning love and the new freedom that comes along with loneliness), "Ecco com'è che va il mondo", "Segunda-feira" (with lyrics in Italian and Portuguese and a peculiar "ethnical" atmosphere) or "Memorie di Giulia". The final "Serial Killer" (where the "serial killer" is a soldier, just "a man like you") concludes a good album with a strange and exotic touch...

The collaboration between Franco Battiato and the lyricist Manlio Sgalambro here seems perfectly work, while music and arrangements are a good synthesis of the "different faces" of the musician... In the whole a very good and original pop-rock album without real weak moments...

Report this review (#115307)
Posted Thursday, March 15, 2007 | Review Permalink
Prog-Folk Team
2 stars Nobody but nobody can write and perform a romantic ballad like Franco Battiato, with a sublime blend of gooey shmaltz and sheer progressive verve. I am speaking specifically about "La Cura" on this release, 4:03 of spine tingling bliss. thanks to an arresting melody, shimmering keys and matching lead guitars. I can't think of an English language singer who can really pull this off. We have plenty who provide the sentimentality without the muscularity, and vice versa, but ne'er the twain shall meet in Shakespeare's tongue.

Unfortunately, most of the rest of this CD succumbs to technology, gimmickry, and compositional laziness. Battiato seems to be content to come up with fine literary ideas and then just put them out there in that multilingual way of his. Most of the tracks provide fleeting moments of interest but generally pass by without incident, a background blend of nigh spoken verses, simple rhythms and technical bleeps and blurps.

If you, as it appears most people on the site, do not have much exposure to the 1990s version of Battiato, this is probably not the place to start. The title translates to "Hidden", and so its supposed treasures remain even after providing it with an abundance of second chances.

Report this review (#194393)
Posted Friday, December 19, 2008 | Review Permalink
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
3 stars It was since the first commercial successes of the 80s that a Battiato album was not selling like this one. Again, after some experiments Battiato was able to find a balance between his various "souls" and release a tasteful mix of ingredients.

The lyrics written by Sgalambro are still eclectic, sometimes cryptic and full of reminds to literature and historty. The music is based on the electronic pop of the 80s but highly contaminated by his original kraut and psychedelic influences. The electronic intrusions of classical orchestrations, voices, speeches and noises are not invasive so the occasional listener can even ignore them and the tracks can be passed by the commercial radios.

All the songs are averagely good, but a mention is deserved by "La Cura" which was the hit single taken from the album, a heavy dramatic love song with excellent lyrics which is still a classic that in Italy can be find on.the air even today. It's not my favorite song in this album, I prefer things like the closer "Serial Killer" which is more rock or "Splendide Previsioni" which is a good mixture of his various souls.

This album relaunched Battiato to the mainstream public. A lucky coincidence as I don't think that Battiato was looking for the commercial success. It only happened that the album (or better the single "La Cura") was highly appreciated by the mainstream public and critics. In prog terms just a good album, in my opinion a perfect fit in the three stars definition.

Report this review (#801323)
Posted Tuesday, August 7, 2012 | Review Permalink

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