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Franco Battiato - L'Egitto Prima Delle Sabbie CD (album) cover

L'EGITTO PRIMA DELLE SABBIE

Franco Battiato

Rock Progressivo Italiano


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1 stars This record consists in just two side-long pieces. That could induce proggers to think it could be a starting point with this artit, but beware: both pieces are just experiments in minimalism. And I mean extreme minimalism: just one chord repeated the whole track. Avoid.

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Send comments to Paco Fox (BETA) | Report this review (#61246)
Posted Thursday, December 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
micky
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars Now before you read this review...please understand that I love the work of Franco Battiato. All phases of his creative explorations. As a musician and amateur painter in my youth I feel a kinship with an artist, and make no mistake Battiato is a musical artist and genius of the first order, and their desire to express themselves through their work. Sometimes art can connect with its audience... and sometimes it doesn't. The true mark of a connoisseur of art is appreciating the effort, even when the attempt leaves you baffled or colder than hell.

This album is probably the most notorious of Battiato's albums.. the most infamous in a string of albums that are hard for even fans of him to appreciate. During the late 70's, as I've noted in previous reviews, Battiato put out a series of albums that explored minimimalist compositions. I do say compositions with a bit of irony of course. Consider sonic experiments.. albums that were made not for the record buying public in mind, but for the sole purpose of expressing an artist's desire to push the boundaries.. both the public's and his own.

The album released in 1978 consists of two side longs. The self titled track takes up the first side. A typical listening experience can be summed up as the following....

00:01 nice intro.. an ascending run of 6 acoustic piano notes played fabulously by Antonio Ballista

00:07... again.. the same 6 notes

00:13 ...ahh....the same 6 notes

1:03... ahhhh... how much did I pay for this album... same 6 notes

1:30.. wonder what Raffaella is making for dinner?

2:09... damn she looks good in that dress

3:10 .. HAH!!!!! he only played FIVE notes that time

4:00... same six notes... the weather sure was beautiful today

4:57 wow.... two quick 6 note patterns

by the time you reach the 14:14 mark with the thunderous conclusion where the same 6 notes sections are split into two 3 notes parts. You are trembling with the release of dramatic tension.

Now we move the side two with...you guessed it.. another side long titled Sud Afternoon. Here we have two pianist trying to outdo each each other by how little they can play. Just kidding... there is more going on with this track. Variations on a root chord.. with long pauses between them. Slightly more interesting than side 1. The unofficial word from Raffaella as she sits on the couch... god this is terrible.. bah.. she's a metal-head. This is art hahaha. *kiss* Anyway.. no room for 'air' piano on this.

An easy album to review... I give it one star for the site. For fans.... I mean FANS of Battiato only. For myself.. again...I enjoy putting it on. If only to remember that if not for albums like this.. I might really think Genesis were boring hahha. 2 stars for me.

Michael (aka micky)

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Send comments to micky (BETA) | Report this review (#126940)
Posted Wednesday, June 27, 2007 | Review Permalink
andrea
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars This album is the last one of Battiato's experimental period. It's an instrumental work of extreme minimalism without the slightest trace of rock and featuring only two long tracks...

The title track is a work for piano solo... Just one chord, a single short arpeggio repeated more and more times for almost fifteen minutes. It was a kind of research on the natural harmonic sounds generated by the first wave of notes played... It was awarded with the "Stockhausen Prize" but I fear that most of the progressive rock fans would find it boring to say the least...

The second track, "Sud Afternoon" is a piano duo composed by Battiato and performed by Antonio Ballista and Bruno Canino, two classical musicians. This composition is another piece of "contemporary classical minimalist avant-garde", slightly more "articulated" than the previous one but in my opinion in the same bleak mood...

"L'Egitto prima delle sabbie" is not everyone's cup of tea... Perhaps it could be interesting just for "connoisseurs" of contemporary classical avant-garde or completionists...

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Send comments to andrea (BETA) | Report this review (#140489)
Posted Tuesday, September 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
Matthew T
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars Released in 1978 and this was the last album that Franco Battiato released with the Ricordi Label. The album is comprised of 2 instrumental tracks the first being the title track. The release was awarded The Karlheinz Stockhausen prize who was a German pioneer in Electronic, Avantgarde and Classical music and died recently in 2007.

I do not hesitate in saying that this minimalistic work is precisely that.in the extreme. The first track comprises of piano chords with repetition. Basically it is the same notes repeated. There are some slight changes with the notes on only about 3 occasions throughout the piece and timing is paramount. I should also mention solo piano is the only instrument used. The majority of listeners will agree that this is tedious material and to be avoided at all costs but for me when listening to this album if one does not listen to it with any preconceptions it is an interesting listen from a technical viewpoint but if you are after an entertaining listen this is not your baby.

Track 2 and we have a piano duet or twin pianos if you prefer. The track is called Sud Afternoon and to me is only slightly more entertaining than the first which is not a recomendation.

This was his last album in this style for this era, (you never know he may get the urge again) and is the most boring for me. Hardcore Collectors only or people who are so out there they were never anywhere to begin with. It hurts to do this with Franco, but 1 star.

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Send comments to Matthew T (BETA) | Report this review (#256036)
Posted Monday, December 14, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars I am quite sad to see this album so lowly rated on progarchives - which should be a place where music is faced with a certain open-mindedness. This album is of course very eclectic - but in minimalism as well there is a purpose. The purpose of this album is to abolish melody and just focus on time.

Time is the main character here for two reasons:

1) the chords are spaced at different time intervals and played with different intensities (achieving many different lengths of echo).

2) incredibly, time produces armony here: the notes in the chord are playd as an arpeggio, rather than simultaneously, and left echoing, and this creates armony among them. If you want to see this try and play all the notes in the chord together rather than as an arpeggio and tell me if they still make an armony.

This is what should fascinate the listener. It should remind the listener that time and silence are an essential part of music and an essential part of our lives (I also recommend reading what Helene Grimaud, world-famed pianist, says about music and silence in her autobiographical book "wild armonies") - and the reason I rate it a "masterpiece" (not only of progressive music), is that no other musical composition that I know proves to be a better representation of this.

Now - I suggest you forget about me explaining the meaning of this album (which might well be subjective) and try give it another listen - so that you can figure out yourself.

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Send comments to rudess87 (BETA) | Report this review (#286889)
Posted Thursday, June 17, 2010 | Review Permalink
octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
2 stars The most infamous and low rated album of Franco Battiato and his minimalist and experimental period consists in two instrumental tracks.

"L'Egitto Prima Delle Sabbie" (The Egypt Before the Sands) is the most minimalist thing tha one can imagine. Play some notes on a piano, always the same at irregular intervals and listen to the harmonics produced by your chord for a bunch of seconds, then repeat it for 14 minutes.

The B side, "Sud Afternoon" (strange title as "sud" means "south" in Italian) is a little different. At least the notes played are not the same of side A, the pauses are different as well and they play on the piano strings instead of on the keyboard. I know that Keith Emerson has done it sometimes, but in the time taken by the pianist to play one chord, in general Emerson has played about a hundred of notes.

Noticing that this is the shorter "track by track" review that I have written, but there's no much to say about this album, I think it can be rated as fans only. Honestly two stars seems to be too much, but it's possible that I'm unable to catch its hidden beauty, and I'm not joking because Battiato is a sort of genius and side B is not disturbing. Uninteresting and boring, but not disturbing. There are at least some variations that side A is totally missing.

For this reason I'm rounding up my rating: 2 stars instead of 1.

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Send comments to octopus-4 (BETA) | Report this review (#607818)
Posted Thursday, January 12, 2012 | Review Permalink

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