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Franco Battiato

Rock Progressivo Italiano

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Franco Battiato L'Era Del Cinghiale Bianco album cover
3.40 | 38 ratings | 5 reviews | 32% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1979

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. L'Era Del Cinghiale Bianco (4:16)
2. Magic Shop (4:12)
3. Strade Dell'Est (4:16)
4. Luna Indiana (3:35)
5. Il Re Del Mondo (5:33)
6. Pasqua Etiope (4:29)
7. Stranizza D'Amuri (5:11)

Total time 31:32

Line-up / Musicians

- Francesco Battiato / composer, arrangements

- Giusto Pio / orchestra conductor, violin, arrangements
- Antonio Ballista / keyboards
- Roberto Colombo / keyboards
- Danilo Lorenzini / piano (4)
- Michele Fedrigotti / piano (4)
- Alberto Radius / guitar
- Julius Farmer / bass
- Tullio De Piscopo / drums, percussion

Releases information

Artwork: Francesco Messina

LP EMI ‎- 3C 064-18285 (1979, Italy)

CD EMI ‎- CDP 7467962 (1990, Italy)

Thanks to NELMOMEDELPROG for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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FRANCO BATTIATO L'Era Del Cinghiale Bianco ratings distribution

(38 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(32%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(32%)
Good, but non-essential (32%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

FRANCO BATTIATO L'Era Del Cinghiale Bianco reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by andrea
4 stars In 1979, after some years of soporific avant-garde, Franco Battiato woke up and turned his attention to the public. However "L'era del cinghiale bianco" is not just an easy pop album or a bleak effort to reach a commercial success. In that period the "Halcyon days" of prog were gone and Franco Battiato, like many other artists, was looking for new musical ways. Here classical music and Mediterranean and Middle- Eastern folk influences are blended with rock and pop in a very personal way, with the help of a group of excellent musicians. Lyrics don't tell stories but the words are just like "flashes" trying to suggest imagines. The result is surprisingly good!

The wild white boar is a symbol taken from the Celtic mythology and in some way the weird lyrics of the opener title track ("L'era del cinghiale bianco = The age of the white wild boar") seem to invoke the return of a new spiritual era of knowledge and wisdom. This is one of the best known Battiato's songs and it features a great interaction between the violin of Giusto Pio and the guitar of Alberto Radius (former guitarist of Formula Tre and Il Volo). The instrumental riff is very catchy and it leaves you with the hope that "the age of the white wild boar will come back soon."

Mysticism for sale. The following "Magic Shop" is about money and religion: the ironic lyrics draw a sarcastic criticism against the habit of making money from faith, while the music is light and deep with a good line of bass and soaring vocals.

"Strade dell'Est" is a kind of musical journey on the streets of the East, from Albania to Siberia, from China to Iraq, from Turkey to Russia. Great the percussion work of Tullio De Piscopo and the guitar solo of Alberto Radius. The result is an extremely interesting mix of rock and folk influences.

"Luna indiana" (Indian moon) is an instrumental track with classical influences and a nocturnal mood where the interacting of piano and violin loom a "chamber music" atmosphere, the murmured vocals appearing at the end of the track seem to introduce the slow and magical mood of the following "Il re del mondo" where "the king of the world keeps our hearts in prison".

The ethereal and mystic "Pasqua Etiope" (Ethiopic Easter) is sung in Latin. "Requiem aeternam dona eis Domine et lux perpetua luceat eis.": it sounds like a kind of exotic prayer.

The last track "Stranizza d'amuri" (Love strangeness) is sung in the dialect of Sicily and features a good percussion work and a "Mediterranean flavour".

The album is short (it lasts only 31 minutes) but every track is worth listen to. "L'era del cinghiale bianco" is still far from the clever pop of Battiato's following albums and in the whole I think that it could be an excellent addition to an Italian prog collection.

Review by micky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Continuing on with the wacky world of Franco Battiato....

Silly record companies.... you think someone lost their job after Battiato's 1978 album L'Egitto Prima Delle Sabbie landed on the desk of the head of the Ricordi label. Someone must have... and not long after the album was released. Battiato then lost his album contract. Thus ended his avant minimalism phase hahha. Signed to EMI in 1979 Battiato was ready to strike out again and record another album. Some friend or management probably reminded him that art and creative expression are all well and good, but that doesn't put food on the table or pays the bills hahhaha. The public was hungry for something they could sink their teeth into.. something other than the slivers of glass that L'Egitto Prima Delle Sabbie was.. but something with meat on them bones. Something that the public could enjoy. Never fear. As we have come to learn about Battiato through the 70's if there is one thing he is a master of... it is melody. The man has an ear for a great melody beyond most all musicians I have ever run across. Prog by 1979, even in the hotbed of prog that was Italy, had pretty much gone by the wayside. Most groups had folded.. many had changed styles completely... still others simply became more radio friendly. So did Battiato with this album. If the public wanted an album they enjoy. Battiato could deliver.. and on this ... his 9th album.. he delivered. A stunning album

The album of course is a complete 180 degree turn from his albums of the previous years and was more song orientated and focused on melody since 1972's Pollution. Joining him on the album was his collaborator from his last albums violinist Giusto Pio. He would begin a new more commercial phase which would be vindicated by the astounding success of 1981's La voce del padrone. Here on this album though... we see the beginnings of an incredible prolific and fascinating era of his music. More commerical to be sure.. but of such HIGH quality musically. Battiato being Battiato.. you didn't get mindless or uninteresting pop music but valid music that was still challenging and interesting... yet still retaining appeal to those who simply want to hear a great melody and something they can tap their feet to.

The album kicks off with a CLASSIC. An instantly recognizable title track. Anchored by the the violin of Pio and guitar of Alberto Radius. If the public and EMI wanted a song that could appeal to the public. Battiato struck gold on this one. Magic Shop is next, a light musical affair with Franco's touching vocals. Strade dell'est is a perky folk inspried song with Radius talking center stage. Luna Indiana is a nice instrumental with strong classical motifs and themes. Very good stuff and a reminder that art was what drove Battiato. Not putting out fluff. The next track is my favorite from the album. Il Re del Mondo which has a hypnotic melody that hooked me from the first listen. Wonderful song with a real sense of depth and atmosphere to it. Pasqua Etiope is next up and and is delicate song with delightful sax and piano and Battiato singing in what I believe is Latin. Stranizza D'Amuri closes the album with another ethnic musical journey this time to Sicily and it's music and sung in it's dialect.

After years of pushing the edge of avant music. Battiato stepped back some to traditional songs and frameworks yet still retained the sense of exploration with hynotic soundscapes and ethnic folk influences. A wonderful place for those who want to explore Battiato the master of melody. For me 4 stars.. I am a big fan of his more esoteric and avant works but so far this is my favorite of his later albums and this album has several songs that I'd put up with anything he had done before in the 70's for the ability to grab you and not let go. For the site.. can only give it 3 stars... it is the starting point for the 2nd phase of his career but might not appeal to hard core prog fans. Anything that reeks of accessibility and this album is... will not appeal to them. For those who want to hear good progressive music in discreet song structures I think would enjoy the album. Recommended.

Michael (aka Micky)

Review by Raff
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars When this album was released, back in 1979, it came as a surprise to those who knew Franco Battiato as a wacky, avant-garde artist known for near-unlistenable records - such as its predecessor, the notorious L'Egitto prima delle sabbie. However, L'era del cinghiale bianco (a title referring to both Celtic and Hindu mythology, in which the wild boar was a symbol of spiritual renewal) took the Italian music scene by storm, even if it did not become a massive hit like its followers eventually did. Neatly packaged in a stylish cover brimming with all kinds of esoteric symbols, it features music that is at the same time accessible and sophisticated, Battiato's distinctive vocals, redolent of the Middle East, and his trademark lyrical style, a brilliant mixture of the nonsense and the cultivated. While you do not need to understand Italian to appreciate Battiato's music, it is undeniable that, if you don't, you are missing out on something - though his voice is fascinating even without having a clue of what he is singing about. I believe not enough has been said about how innovative Battiato's singing style has been for the Italian music scene, where singers are usually expected to have either very pleasant and melodic, or very theatrical voices. In some ways, Battiato's style can be compared to another great innovator's, Lucio Battisti (not yet included in the database at the time of writing) - neither gifted with powerful lungs, but both aware of the effectiveness of using one's voice as an additional instrument, and of the frequent superiority of expressiveness versus mere power.

One of the things I have always loved about Battiato's lyrics is their strong visual quality, very evident on the album's title-track (introduced by an awesome, utterly memorable violin riff), which conjures up images of exotic cities like Tunis and Damascus; while Strade dell'Est (whose strong rhythmic beat is vaguely reminiscent of a train) takes us on a journey through Central Asia, though hidden cities, crowded markets, and ancient legends. On the other hand, the mellow, hypnotic Il re del mondo references the theory of René Guénon about the 'spiritual centre' of the world, and its negative effects on free choice. Album closer Stranizza d'amuri, sung by the artist in his native Sicilian dialect, is somewhat older than the other tracks, having been written in 1975 (it is also included in the compilation La convenzione). Luna indiana is a beautiful, mostly instrumental, piano-based track, and the atmospheric Pasqua etiope is basically a prayer sung in Latin.

While prog purists may frown upon Battiato's move, open-minded music fans will find a lot to love in this intriguing, sophisticated album. In spite of its superficial 'poppy' feel, L'era del cinghiale bianco has many layers, which will unfold upon repeated listens. Granted, it is not 'conventional' prog by any means, and as such may be found disappointing by those who expect 20-minute epics, or wild time signature shifts. Knowledge of Italian is a bonus (unless one day I decide to translate the lyrics), but in no way essential to enjoy Franco Battiato's mesmerising musical world. Four solid stars from this reviewer.

Review by Andrea Cortese
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars After his prog rock period (1972-1974), after his experimental-avant-guarde-minimalist period (1975-1978), Franco Battiato returned back to his pop roots with this well known work, the first of a lucky serie of albums that would bring him enormous success.

Battiato never loses his eclectic musical vision and taste for whimsical lyrics but don't wait for another Pollution or Sulle Corde di Aries... you'll be disappointed. Apart from the valuable musicians involved in this project (Alberto Radius of FORMULA 3 fame on excellent guitar, Giusto Pio on violin and Tullio De Piscopo on drums and percussions), the general mood of the record still remains predictable and the very short running time (only 31 mns!) leaves a bad feeling of incompleteness.

Highlights are the opener with a good duet of guitar and violin, the melody of "Magic Shop" and the nice grooves of "Il re del Mondo" and "Strade dell'Est".

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
3 stars Death and resurrection: after the most minimalistic and challenging album of his career Battiato closes himself in a chrysalis and what comes out is a pop star. The music is pop with appealing melodies, a touch of krautrock in the arrangements which feature the excellent violinist Giusto Pio. Battiato's voice sounds very appropriate and the lyrics are hermetic so to add an "alien" element to the pop environment. Is it prog? I'm not sure, but there are prog elements in the compositions, specially in the title track. A mention to the lineup which includes a great guitarist (ex Formula 3) Alberto Radius and the percussionist Tullio de Piscopo (Napoli Centrale).

However what is really surprising is the sudden transformation of an artist that later will change again. This album represents the starting of a very remunerative success in his career.

The title track is still one of his most famous songs for the mainstream listeners, while "Magic Shop" is a song that I had totally forgotten. I'm relistening to this album after years and this country-flavored song based on three majir chords like a sort of Knocking on Heaven's Door with hermetic lyrics is almost forgettable.

"Strade Dell'Est" is interesting but the mood is more of the 70s disco. It's a nice listening anyway, with a bit of funky on which Battiato's voice sounds unusual. Not prog but I like it. It reminds me to bands like "Napoli Centrale".

"Luna Indiana" is opened by a piano playing a classical harping. This is one of the most "contaminated" songs, something good for Giusto Pio's violin. A sort of neo-classical suite in romantic style.

"Il Re Del Mondo" (The King of the World) is exactly the kind of music that Battiato will produce since now fro years on. A bit of electronic mixed with classical end ethnics with lyrics that are mainly descriptions of sequences of images. The keyboard's sounds used here are similar to those used by Vangelis in the same period. A good song, the most progressive of the album.

"Pasqua Etiope" (Ethiopian Easter) is opened by harp and double bass then goes into the Krautrock or even Canterbury territories with a trumpet (a keyboard?) adding a jazzy touch and lyrics in Latin.

"Stranizza D'Amuri" is the highlight of this album. It's written in Sicilian dialect (almost incomprehensible even for an Italian) and even if catchy and easy it's enriched by Giusto Pio's violin and Battiato's voice is perfect in this contamination of electronics and folk.

As I have written at the beginning, Battiato just one year after his most challenging album comes back completely transformed. Actually he was still playing some of his old things live: Fetus and Pollution, mainly but this good album is the point of no return.

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