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Franco Battiato

Rock Progressivo Italiano

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Franco Battiato L'Egitto Prima Delle Sabbie album cover
1.76 | 29 ratings | 7 reviews | 10% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1978

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. L'Egitto Prima Delle Sabbie (14:14)
2. Sud Afternoon (18:31)

Total Time: 32:45

Line-up / Musicians

- Francesco Battiato / composer

- Antonio Ballista / grand piano
- Bruno Canino / grand piano (2)

Releases information

Artwork: Giordano Casiraghi

LP Ricordi ‎- SMRL 6220 (1978, Italy)

CD ARTIS Records - ARCD 049 (1993, Italy)

Thanks to Alos for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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FRANCO BATTIATO L'Egitto Prima Delle Sabbie ratings distribution

(29 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(10%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(7%)
Good, but non-essential (14%)
Collectors/fans only (28%)
Poor. Only for completionists (41%)

FRANCO BATTIATO L'Egitto Prima Delle Sabbie reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by micky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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 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)

Review by andrea
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...

Review by Matthew T
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 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.

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
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.

Review by Guldbamsen
2 stars Gazing at the sun

As a big fan of Franco Battiato and his ever changing sonic routes, this album completely threw me off balance. The man has always done things his own way, but the transition he made from his first four progressive rock albums to the minimalist approach found on subsequent albums made my head spin. I guess you could spot certain Stockhausen influences on an album like 'Clic', but they in no way prepared you for the white shimmering nothingness of this, his final minimalist installation, 'L'Egitto Prima Delle Sabbie'.

This album consists of two tracks performed solely on the piano. The opening title track instantly drives home one unequivocal fact: 6 piano notes repeated ad nauseum to the edge of infinity does not make for a cosy dinner soundtrack, and the girl sitting opposite you will most likely kindly ask you to put on an album that isn't stuck in a god forsaken vinyl groove.

There is method to his madness though. The echoing ripple effect of those 6 notes becomes increasingly hypnotic as the track unfolds. New slightly different shadings find their way into the music with a small change in the pauses between the clinkering, as well as a slight difference felt in the harmonics. Getting deeper and deeper into this raw piano abyss, you suddenly start questioning your sanity, sofa and sound system. It lulls you into a huge white landscape much like a Scandinavian wilderness drowned in sparkly snow - feeling as if you've gazed into the sun for far too long with small blobs of blue and purple forming around the corner of your eye in kaleidoscopic patterns and swirls.

The second cut 'Sud Afternoon' continues in it's predecessor's footprints, only here you get yet another acoustic piano chiming in. The emphasis on repetition and infinitely minuscule enhancement of a certain note still rules the coop, challenging the listener to be abnormally patient and to make something out of the, almost, blank canvas presented to him. It's a gift handed over to you, an abstract one at that.

I think of Battiato as a strange Italian take on Bob Dylan, no really. While they couldn't be further from each other sonically, they both have made their careers out of music without resolving to compromises. It comes from within...always. No sucking up to the fans - no interest in what makes the dollars flow - only a strict artistic focus on the musical journey of themselves, where they want to go next...and how. It may not be to everyone's taste (not even close!), but it's honest and pure. Making music starts with a fire in your stomach. Realising the music without enslaving oneself to certain principles of the day, certain sounds and trends, takes incredible amounts of balls and brains. Something dear ol Franco's never been in shortage of.

This record came out during punk and disco's heyday, and while it sported some of the same characteristics as the ascetic purity of the former - removing itself completely from the wild and shape-shifting days of his early releases, it still manages to convey a similar artistic prowess.....only conveyed majestically and repeatedly in white blinding light notes from a piano.

Latest members reviews

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 tim ... (read more)

Report this review (#286889) | Posted by rudess87 | Thursday, June 17, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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. ... (read more)

Report this review (#61246) | Posted by Paco Fox | Thursday, December 22, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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