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FRANCO BATTIATO

Rock Progressivo Italiano • Italy


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Franco Battiato picture
Franco Battiato biography
Franco Battiato is one of the most successful singers in Italy. He began his career as a "light" singer, recording a few singles. In 1971 he started his particular journey through experimental music, recording his proggiest issues: "Fetus", "Pollution", "Sulle corde di Aries". Some very atmospheric parts and some very melodic songs make these records worthwhile, along with musical references to the arabic culture and italian folk that will surface from time to time in all of his following output. His next records are gradually more and more experimental, exploring minimalism and culminating with "L' Egitto prime delle Sabbie", with two long pieces based on hardly one note and its harmonics. Very difficult, I can´t recommend this period to anyone but music scholars or any Stockhausen students. After this, came a great change of direction.
From "L'era del Cinghiale Bianco" to "Mondi Lontanissimi", these are pop-rock records, but very interesting (and even commercially successful) ones. Especially the lyrics, sometimes very deep, sometimes ironic, full of references. He starts singing in many different languages, even within one song.
With "Fisiognomica", Battiato started walking towards classical music, using orchestra on some songs and composing a couple of operas. "L'Imboscata" and "Gommalacca" are rockier than any of his previous works. The latest has a shy return to prog and experimental, yet for a wide audience.

This is the best progressive soloist in Italy and now is very popular. I recommend "Fetus", "Pollution" and "Sulle corde di Aries", a kind of trilogy and one of the Italian prog highest moments.



Why this artist must be listed in www.progarchives.com :
One of the greatest experiences in Italian prog, great music quality, even his most "pop" works are deep and intellectuals. He is also one of the most popular italian singers.



Discography:
Fetus (72)
Pollution (73)
Sulle Corde Di Aries (73)
Clic (74)
M. Elle Le Gladiator (75)
Franco Battiato (77)
Juke Box (78)
L'Egitto Prima delle Sabbie (78)
L'era del Cinghiale Bianco (79)
Patriots (80)
La Voce del Padrone (81)
L'arca di Noé (82)
Orizzonti Perduti (83)
Mondi lontanissimi (85)
Fisiognomica (88)
Giubbe Rosse (89)
Come un Camello In Una Grondaia (91)
Caffé de la Paix (93)
L'ombrello e la macchina da cucire (95)
L'imboscata (96)
Gommalacca (98)
Fleurs (99)
Campi Magnetici (00) ...
read more

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Echoes of Sufi DancesEchoes of Sufi Dances
Import
EMI Music Italy 2001
Audio CD$10.85
$21.98 (used)
La Cura: Best ofLa Cura: Best of
Import
Universal 2000
Audio CD$12.02
$8.88 (used)
Juke BoxJuke Box
Import
Sony/Bmg Italy 1998
Audio CD$6.73
$14.12 (used)
L'Egitto prima delle sabbieL'Egitto prima delle sabbie
Import
Sony/Bmg Italy 1998
Audio CD$7.42
$8.49 (used)
PollutionPollution
Import
Sony/Bmg Italy 1998
Audio CD$6.45
$6.00 (used)
BattiatoBattiato
Import
Sony/Bmg Italy 1998
Audio CD$6.84
$13.52 (used)
Fleurs 2Fleurs 2
Import
Mercury Italy 2008
Audio CD$7.99
$19.99 (used)
La Voce Del PadroneLa Voce Del Padrone
Import
EMI Music Italy 2008
Audio CD$10.97
$37.65 (used)
Sulle Corde Di AriesSulle Corde Di Aries
Import
Sony/Bmg Italy 1998
Audio CD$5.25
$9.49 (used)
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L'Imboscata by Franco Battiato (CD, Feb-1997, Universal/Polygram) USD $29.99 [0 bids]
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FRANCO BATTIATO shows & tickets


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FRANCO BATTIATO discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

FRANCO BATTIATO top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.35 | 50 ratings
Fetus
1972
3.68 | 72 ratings
Pollution
1972
3.23 | 16 ratings
Foetus
1972
4.06 | 96 ratings
Sulle corde di Aries
1973
3.58 | 38 ratings
Clic
1974
2.06 | 12 ratings
M.elle Le Gladiator
1975
2.04 | 14 ratings
Battiato
1977
2.94 | 12 ratings
Juke Box
1978
1.71 | 21 ratings
L'Egitto Prima Delle Sabbie
1978
3.35 | 28 ratings
L'era Del Cinghiale Bianco
1979
2.47 | 17 ratings
Patriots
1980
3.56 | 26 ratings
La Voce Del Padrone
1981
2.36 | 15 ratings
L'arca di Noè
1982
2.36 | 14 ratings
Orizzonti Perduti
1983
2.49 | 12 ratings
Mondi lontanissimi
1985
2.00 | 2 ratings
Echoes of sufi dances
1985
2.00 | 1 ratings
Ecos de danzas sufi
1985
3.15 | 4 ratings
Nomadas
1987
4.50 | 7 ratings
Genesi
1987
3.41 | 16 ratings
Fisiognomica
1988
3.29 | 7 ratings
Musiche Per Il Film Su Benvenuto Cellini
1990
3.00 | 2 ratings
Como un camello en un canalón
1991
2.06 | 8 ratings
Come Un Cammello In Una Grondaia
1991
3.85 | 8 ratings
Gilgamesh
1992
3.30 | 13 ratings
Caffé De La Paix
1993
3.04 | 5 ratings
Messa Arcaica
1994
2.50 | 6 ratings
L'ombrello E La Macchina Da Cucire
1995
2.78 | 11 ratings
L'imboscata
1996
3.00 | 3 ratings
La emboscada
1996
4.29 | 18 ratings
Gommalacca
1998
2.55 | 10 ratings
Fleurs
1999
2.15 | 7 ratings
Campi Magnetici
2000
3.00 | 2 ratings
Hierro Forjado
2001
2.72 | 10 ratings
Ferro Battuto
2001
2.61 | 9 ratings
Fleurs 3
2002
3.69 | 7 ratings
Dieci Stratagemmi
2004
3.00 | 6 ratings
Il Vuoto
2007
3.00 | 4 ratings
Fleurs 2
2008
3.88 | 7 ratings
Inneres auge
2009
2.05 | 3 ratings
Telesio
2011
3.67 | 3 ratings
Apriti Sesamo
2012
0.00 | 0 ratings
Joe Patti's Experimental Group
2014

FRANCO BATTIATO Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.26 | 6 ratings
Giubbe Rosse
1989
0.00 | 0 ratings
Concerto di Baghdad
1993
4.00 | 2 ratings
Last Summer Dance
2003

FRANCO BATTIATO Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

FRANCO BATTIATO Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.50 | 2 ratings
Feed Back
1976
2.00 | 1 ratings
1972
1976
0.00 | 0 ratings
SuperStar
1982
2.00 | 1 ratings
Battiato Collection (Espaniol songs version)
1996
4.00 | 3 ratings
Battiato Studio Collection
1996
4.50 | 2 ratings
Gli Anni Settanta
2001
3.96 | 5 ratings
La Convenzione (with Juri Camiscsca and Osage Tribe)
2002
3.00 | 1 ratings
Le Più Belle Canzoni Di... Franco Battiato
2006
2.00 | 1 ratings
D.O.C.
2006
4.00 | 1 ratings
Sigillo D'Autore
2010

FRANCO BATTIATO Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

1.00 | 1 ratings
L'amore è Partito
1965
1.00 | 1 ratings
E Più Ti Amo
1965
1.00 | 1 ratings
La torre - Le reazioni
1967
1.00 | 1 ratings
Triste come me - Il mondo va così
1967
1.00 | 1 ratings
E' l'amore - Fumo di una sigaretta
1968
1.00 | 1 ratings
Bella ragazza - Occhi d'or
1969
1.00 | 1 ratings
Sembrava una serata come tante - Gente
1969
1.00 | 1 ratings
Vento caldo - Marciapiede
1971
3.00 | 1 ratings
Energia / Una Cellula
1972
3.00 | 1 ratings
La Convenzione / Paranoia
1972

FRANCO BATTIATO Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 L'Egitto Prima Delle Sabbie by BATTIATO, FRANCO album cover Studio Album, 1978
1.71 | 21 ratings

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L'Egitto Prima Delle Sabbie
Franco Battiato Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Guldbamsen
Forum & Site Admin Group Site and Forum Admin

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.

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 La Voce Del Padrone by BATTIATO, FRANCO album cover Studio Album, 1981
3.56 | 26 ratings

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La Voce Del Padrone
Franco Battiato Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars On La Voce del Padrone Franco Battiato adapts to changing musical times by applying his vocal gymnastics not to traditional progressive rock of the sort deployed on his earlier albums, but instead adopts a New Wave sound which provides a compelling base for his vocals whilst at the same time offering slightly more twists and turns than more straightforward synthpop releases from the era would offer.

Perhaps the best example of this is Cuccurucucù, which combines a wide range of emotional moods and sections into a four-minute multilingual mini-epic that's crammed with musical surprises and shifts. Prog purists may pine for his early classics, but I think there's more here than immediately meets the ear if you pay close attention.

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 Sulle corde di Aries by BATTIATO, FRANCO album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.06 | 96 ratings

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Sulle corde di Aries
Franco Battiato Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars For a thid solo album Battiato introduced a wider and significant line-up.Among his usual collaborators drummer Gianfranco D'Adda and guitarist Gianni Mocchetti we can find Analogy's female frontman Jutta Nienhaus, saxophonist Daniele Cavallanti from the Experimental/Folk act Aktuala and several less known musicians like Gianni Bedori on tenor sax, Jane Robertson on cello and Gaetano Galli on oboe.Entitled ''Sulle corde di Aries'', the album was released in 1973 on Pino Massara's Bla Bla label.

This was another step towards experimental music forms blended with Prpg tastes by Battiato, where the music is heavily driven by his atonal synthesizer exercises.The long ''Sequenze e frequenze'' is almost entirely built around his analog synths and obcure electronic loops with a few high-tone vocals and sax lines in its first part, somewhere between Avant-Prog and Folk, while after the middle it's all about Electronic/Avant-Garde music with hypnotic, repetitive and spacey keyboards, supported by somekind of sampled vibraphones.The first and last track of the opening side will be followed by ''Aries'' on the flipside of the LP, a Psych/Space Rock piece with discreet, crying guitars, haunting male chants and Bedori's excellent, blasting sax work towards the end.''Aria di rivoluzione'' is propably the closest cut to Italian Prog, featuring Nienhaus'es German narration among Battiato's Italian vocals in a very lyrical enviroment, supported by percussions, clarinet and another couple of minutes with nice Jazz/Folk sax lines.''Da oriente ad Occidente'' has a very nostalgic atmosphere with great Italian vocals and a very folky atmosphere, based on Galli's oboe and the acoustic changes between Batiatto's calimba and Mochetti's mandolin with some dark, improvised atmospheres during the closing minutes.

The later albums of Battiato shifted towards even more experimental and minimalistic music forms depending on the releasing period, mostly grounded in Avant-Garde, Modern Classical, New Wave and Electronic fields, thus being of marginal rock interest.Still he is fairly considered among the greatest contemporary Italian composers with a huge discography of diverse musical background.

''Sulle corde di Aries'' is definitely a monumental album of Experimental Rock and a daring listening for all fans, who consider themselves as progressive listeners.Eeerie, mysterious progressive music with folky ovetones and lovely vocal work.Recommended.

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 Sulle corde di Aries by BATTIATO, FRANCO album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.06 | 96 ratings

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Sulle corde di Aries
Franco Battiato Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Franco Battiato here offers a strange blend of progressively inclined folk rock and early electronic experimentation; I'm inclined to suggest a collaboration between Nick Drake (or a version of Drake steeped in the Italian folk tradition) and early Tangerine Dream. Those whose exposure to Italian progressive rock has focused on the big name bands like Le Orme, Banco del Mutuo Soccorso, and PFM will find this decidedly surprising, because although this is a distinctively Italian album (through the folk influences in particular) and it's undeniably progressive, Battiato seems to be performing from an entirely different planet from his RPI contemporaries, making him a true original.

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 Fleurs 3 by BATTIATO, FRANCO album cover Studio Album, 2002
2.61 | 9 ratings

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Fleurs 3
Franco Battiato Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by octopus-4
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team

2 stars There may be a reason to release "Fleurs 3" before "Fleurs 2", even though I don't see a reason to insist on this topic after "Fleurs"which is probably the Battiato's album I like less.

As "Fleurs" this is an album of covers of famous Italian songs of Battiato's youthness, apart of PFM's "Impressioni Di Settembre" which is relatively recent respect to the many songs coming from the early 60s.

"Perduto Amor" (Lost Love) was written by an Italian-belgian singer-songwriter, some "Salvatore Adamo". Nothing of prog interest in this song, but he must like it a lot as this was the title of his first movie as director which has a soundtrack full of songs of this period and kind. Not skippingthis song is quite hard.

"Impressioni di Settembre" is a great song regardless who sings it. The arrangement is not bad but the original version is still unbeatable. At least he has left the synth as in the original.

"Se Mai" is a very famous hollywoodian song written by Charlie Chaplin now translated into Italian. It's from the soundtrack of "Modern Times". Nothing to say, it's a great song with nothing to do with prog.

"Ritornerai" is a song by "Bruno Lauzi", one of the biggest Italian pop songwriters of 60s and 70s. Pop, exactly.

Something French now: "Col Tempo, Sai" (With Time, You Know..) is another less than a hit from the 60s. Let's skip..

Caterina Caselli was my favourite singer when I was 4 or 5 years old and I'm quite happy to have the opportunity to spend few words about her. She had a brilliant but short pop career as singer then she became a producer running her own label and launching (or trying to launch) many artists. She was also a bassist and I remember to have seen her playing a solo with a 6-string bass in a TV show at the end of the 60s. I like this song because it was part of my childhood, but you don't have to. The song is "Insieme A Te Non Ci Sto Piu" (I don't stay with you anymore).

Another classic of Italian pop: "Il Cielo in Una Stanza"(The Sky In a Room) by the singer- songwriter Gino Paoli. A big hit from the 60s....where it should have remained.

Now a surprise: a song by Alan Sorrenti, but I have never heard it before. I'm not sure that it has been released on any Sorrenti's album. Not a masterpiece in any case but it's one of the less boring songs of this album.

Another Bruno Lauzi's song, one of his most well-known melodic love songs...let's skip it as well. I feel a lot of respect for Lauzi who would deserve some words but I have never liked his songs.

"Sigillata Con Un Bacio" (Sealed With a Kiss) is a song that I've never heard before from an unknown author. It sounds very 60s as well and is not the worst track here. There are some good passages but I wouldn't suggest anybody to buy this album for this song.

A song written by Battiato and sung with Alice (one of the singers he launched in the 80s). I'm sorry but even this song is forgettable.

The album is closed by Strauss. "Beim Schlafengehen" (Going To Sleep) sung by Battiato doesn't sound as if sung by a tenor. Why disturbing Strauss, I don't know.

This is nothing more than a collector's item.

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 Ferro Battuto by BATTIATO, FRANCO album cover Studio Album, 2001
2.72 | 10 ratings

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Ferro Battuto
Franco Battiato Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by octopus-4
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team

3 stars The defect of this album is to include different sides of Battiato, so that listeners who don't have followed his whole career can be surprised by some track. Personally I think that his cover of Jimi Hendirx's Hey Joe values the price of the album, but I wouldn't be surprised if a Hendrix fan finds it awful because of its classical-ethnic arrangement.

The other song "out of the lines" is the long closer "Il Potere del Canto (The Power of Singing) which is one of the sonic patchworks which caused Battiato to be laid off by his label in the 70s.

Of the many people credited on the album, a special mention goes to Natacha Atlas whose voice adds a lot to "Personalità Empirica". She sings also on "Scherzo in Minore" but it's just background vocals.

The other songs are well arranged. The lyrics of "Sarcofagia" are in line with Battiato's apparent nonsense full of quotes he was used in the 80s, while some other songs are closer to the 90s output, but the highlight for me if the closer and its ghost tracks. It's hypnotic with a tempo and sounds which come from the old krautrock-like past of Battiato's early 70s. The first ghost track is quite psychedelic but I don't feel it as a separate song. It's a trippy dreamy track which fades into a TV speech in German which he has used at least on another album. In the last part there's more editing. He must have joked a lot with scissors and playbacks to obtain this old fashioned psychedelic electronic thing.

It's a good album that I think is currently underrated on this site.

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 Campi Magnetici by BATTIATO, FRANCO album cover Studio Album, 2000
2.15 | 7 ratings

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Campi Magnetici
Franco Battiato Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by octopus-4
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team

2 stars What a surprise! More than 20 years after his last very experimental work Battiato is back to tapes, loops and electronic. It caused him to be dropped off from the Recordi labelat the end of the 70s, after releasing albums like "L'Egitto Prima delle Sabbie" and "M.mlle Le Gladiatour".

Respect to the 70s, he now have more electronics available and it's not strange if he uses drones and sounds typical of techno-trance or whatever is called music.

"In Trance" starts ambient and spacey, but suddenly it's like he is an ecstasy doped DJ running after a rave party. I think Senmuth may like this droning with some ethnics behind. Only the keyboard chords are clearly Battiato's stuff for who doesn't know his experimental period. The outcome is chillout electronics for the first minutes, then sequences of noises, recordings and fragments of classical music introduce a section with a speaker, the poet Mario Sgalambro saying something whose meaning he only knows. Other fragments: indian or north-african music? all mixed with drone drums and a weird choir which seems coming from a catholic church. Very trippy.

"Corpi in movimento" (moving solids) is opened by a reversed tape, then a subtle keyboard and piano layout and poetry again. Well, more than poetry it seems a lesson of physics (Campi Magnetici means "Magnetic Fields"). The voice volume is below the piano so it's not easy to understand even for an Italian. After two minutes borderline with krautrock it starts a section featuring keyboard and operatic vocals. It's repetitive but melodic even if the main instrument is a tape played reverse. Two more minutes and suddenly the tape leaves room to piano and keys, then opera again....it doesn't have much sense continuing to describe the music. The relevant thing is that even if the instruments and the technique used change every two minbutes, the general mood of the track doesn't change.

"Fulmini Globulari" (Globular Lightings) is more difficult to follow. It starts like a patchwork of sounds and noises, very similar to the albums for which he was laid off. We can hear some electric guitar chords, tapes, then silence, then God knows what. Behind the noise there's a dark ambient background, but the central part of the track is very noisy and chaotic. The chaos is alternated with pieces of classical music, or opera.

"La Corrente Delle Stelle" (The Star's Stream) is a progressive electronic piece of beauty. Who likes spacey soundscapes and relaxing ambient music, like Alio DIe or Richard Rich will surely like this as well.

"The Age Of Ermaphrodites" is another patchwork of tapes with drones and a percussive bass note throughout the whole piece. Not bad if you are in the right mood, but it smoothly degradates into a cacophony of disconnected sounds. Exactly the kind of things he was experimenting in the late 70s.

"L'Ignoto" (The Unknown) mixes opera, tapes and the speaker. I think it's a recording from a real opera but I'm not an expert and I can't tell it for sure. After a short speech we are back to the chaos of the previous track. Tapes and a disc scratched plus some background opera emerging from the background here and there.

"Suoni Primordiali"(Primeval Sounds) is the longest track. Ten minutes of dark ambient and silence. Minimalistic.

"La Mer"("The Sea" in French) is the only proper song. I don't know if it's really a French song of the 50s or a parody. Quite nice and totally outplaced, it doesn't have anything to do with the rest of the album. Seems borrowed from his previous album, Fleurs.

Now rating this album is very difficult. I have the temptation of giving it a high rating because of the originality and also because Battiato has demonstrated to have not forgotten his experimental side and has reprised a "fil rouge" abandoned in the 80s when he went to make pop hits. This is an avantgarde album, difficult to classify and very uneasy that I can strongly suggest to the true fans of Battiato as a whole,not only to those who liked his more commercial period. Translated into the site's rules it's a fans only item. Sorry but it fits in the two stars.

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 Fleurs by BATTIATO, FRANCO album cover Studio Album, 1999
2.55 | 10 ratings

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Fleurs
Franco Battiato Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by octopus-4
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team

2 stars This album starts a series of cover albums in which Battiato revisits and reinterprets classics from his youth with particular attention to the French chansonniers like Richard Anthony and Charles Aznavour and Italian singers strongly influenced by them like Fabrizio de Andre. Fleurs is the French word for "Flowers".

"La Canzone Dell'Amore Perduto" is one of the early successes of Fabrizio de Andre' and it's probably because I'm too used to hear it from him, but I don't think Battiato has added anything to this song, also the arrangements are very similar to the original. I can understand the artist's pleasure in singing songs which may have had a meaning for him, but it's not always the same pleasure for the listeners.

It's not the first time that Ruby Tuesday appears in a Battiato album, the first time it was only a mention at the end of his 80s hit "Cuccuruccuccu Paloma". Now it's a full cover, slowered down, no drums and a voice very different from Mick Jagger with the addition of some operatic vocals and a background singer. A classic rock song transformed into prog. Not bad.

Long before David Gilmour, Battiato started digging into classic French songs of the early 60s. "J'Entends Siffler Le Train" is a song from the mentioned Richard Anthony. It shows a folk influence, not so Briton to remind of Alan Stivell, but there's a bit of celtic. I don't know the original so I can't compare it with this version, but it's not bad and Battiato sings better in French than in English.

"Aria Di Neve" is from another Italian "chansonnier", Sergio Endrigo, known for his connection with Brasilian authors like Vinicious de Moraes, but also known for having been considered one of the most boring Italian singers of the 60s, with a sad expression always stamped on his face. An underestimated artist IMO....but this song is very boring.

"Ed Io Fra Di Voi" has been a big success of Charles Aznavour. He sung the Italian version which I think has sold more copies in Italy than in France. I must admit that I like this song, I had it recorded on a tape when I was a child and I still remember the lyrics.

Again Sergio Endrigo, as author this time. "Te Lo Leggo Negli Occhi" was a hit single of some "Dino", a singer who released some singles in the early 60s. This song even if released in 1964 can still be heard on vintage radios, but it's very dated.

The first true "Chansonnier" arrives with "La Canzone Dei Vecchi Amanti" which is the Italian version of "La chanson des vieux amants" by Jacques Brel. Not a bad song with poetic lyrics, but no prog at all.

"Era De Maggio" is a poetry written in 1885 by a neapolitan poet and put into music by a guy whose name I don't remember. It became a classic of the neapolitan traditional music thanks to Roberto Murolo. Not for this site.

"Che Cosa Resta" is another French song (Que reste-t-il de nos amour). I don't know anything about the original, but I find it very boring, especially after all those sequences of minor chords. The only remarkable thing is the vocal effect on the first part of the song which sounds 30s, like "One More Kiss" from the Blade Runner soundtrack.

"Amore Che Vieni Amore Che Vai" is one of the masterpieces of Fabrizio de Andre'. It's inspired to the French chansonniers as well as the others, it's based on minor chords but you can hear the difference. Differently from the other De Andre' song, on this one Battiato's voice doesn't sound bad (I mean less good than the original).

"Medievale" is a full Battiato song whose lyrics are probably taken from a minor poet of the 13th century. This and the following song are the only valuable thing for who looks for the "normal" Battiato.

"Invito Al Viaggio" (Invite to journey) closes this excursion to France and surroundings. It's a poetry from Charles Baudelaire with music by Battiato and surely the best song of the album. The operatic vocals supporting Battiato's voice and the keyboard layer, the initial speech, belong to the best Battiato. There's a pause after 4 minutes, like a ghost track that is very reminding of the Kraut/Avant period. A track this, which values for the whole album, that means, if you find it on i-tunes or similar, download just this.

There's some good in this album but honestly I find it unecessary and a bit too boring.

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 Gommalacca by BATTIATO, FRANCO album cover Studio Album, 1998
4.29 | 18 ratings

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Gommalacca
Franco Battiato Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by octopus-4
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team

4 stars At the end of the 90s Battiato finally manages to obtain a fusion of his electro-pop vein and his prog and classical influences. Let me remind of the pyschedelic, electronic, krautrock and experimental albums of the 70s.

The result is a very pleasant album with some appeal for all the kinds of public that he has.

"Shock In My Town" has less hermetic and cryptic lyrics than usual. I like writing of this because Battiato has recently been fired from his political role in his Sicily for having said something "too clear": in an interview he said that the Italian parliament is full of whores, intending people who sells himself, abd the sentence has been used as pretest to fire him. Should he have used the language of his songs nobody would have had this opportunity for firing him. Back to music, this song has a background of classically arranged strings and electronics but the mood is dramatic, very far from his light pop of the 80s. There's something in this sing, maybe the repetition of chord passages "A- F" which reminds me to a long invective launched by another Italian artist, Giorgio Gaber, many years before: "Io Se Fossi Dio". Only the chords. The two songs are very different each other.

"Auto De Fe'" features an unusually heavy guitar but the chorus is very electronic instead. It's a song lighter than the first, even in the lyrics but it's surely not a pop song.Something which needs some listens to catch all the instrumental aspects inside it.

"Casta Diva" is the title of a song taken from the Bellini's opera "Norma". In the opera it's a prayer of a druid priestess. This song is very melodic and I don't see in the lyrics a clear reference to the opera, but consider that all I know of opera is based on Zeuhl so I can't really write of Bellini.

"Il Ballo Del Potere" (The Dance of the Power - intended as political power) it's a sarcastic parody of a "rain dance", speaking of moving from right to left then stop a while in the centre... then he speaks of rituals from Africa and Australia, I think to underline the different behaviours. However he confused a ritual from Papua New Guinea with Aussie Aborigens. The song has a lot of editing, loops, recordings and effects. Good song.

"La Preda"(The Prey) is very melodic but the passages are not trivial and I hear remains of the Battiato's krautrock period. Those two coexisting elements make it appealable for both the pop and the prog Battiato listeners. I won't comment the hermetic lyrics.

"Il Mantello e La Spiga"(The Mantle and the Ear) is the most appealing track for proggers, the one closer to the old Battiato. Based on minor chords, dark and with a rhythm that's slow and obsessive at the same time, like the "Rajaz" of Camelistic fame.

"E' Stato Molto Bello"(It has been very good) is another very good track. Slow and bluesy, I don't know why, it makes me think to Pat Metheny, probably for the background guitar in suaturation.

"Quello Che Fu"(Once It Was) Has initially a classical mood but is also a bit experimental. Luckily, his pop period has gained to Battiato a lot of fans who are used with his typical sound so that even a bit of experimentalism can be digested by his mainstream public.

Another lazy song with a rhythm similar to Metheny's Last Train Home is "Vite Parallele" (Parallel Lives).This tempo and the vocals are a Battiato trademark, but if you isolate those two elements, this can sound like a typical italian pop song.

"Shackleton"..I had a colleague with this surname, but I don't think it's dedicated to him...jokes apart, this is the most experimental track, including speeches, and telling a story without any hermetism. It's the southern version of Lord Franklin's story, at least is very similar, as story. Musically it doesn't have anything to do with the traditional(I think) made famous by Pentangle. With this song, understanding Italian helps a lot as you have effectively a story to follow, but I think that even without taking care of the lyrics, the 8 minutes of this song have something to transmit to the listener. This is the Battiato that I like more.

I can'tconsider this album as a prog masterpiece but it surely deserves all the 4 stars that I'm using to rate it. Was it made of "Shackletons" only, it would have been 5.

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 Battiato by BATTIATO, FRANCO album cover Studio Album, 1977
2.04 | 14 ratings

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Battiato
Franco Battiato Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by HolyMoly
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl and Canterbury Teams

3 stars This is Italian composer Franco Battiato's sixth album, released in 1977. While his first four albums remain the core of his discography as far as progressive rock goes (and even then he was kind of riding around the edges), his next few albums until the end of the decade became increasingly abstract and minimalistic. Primarily known as a vocalist, he had stopped singing on his own albums by the fourth one, preferring instead to showcase tape experiments and repetitive electro-acoustic themes. In a bizarre shift of style, he suddenly became a mainstream pop star come the 1980s, but that's another story.

Battiato will probably be very disconcerting to the first time listener. The first track, the side-long "Za", was his most minimalist piece yet, pretty much a single piano chord repeated for nearly 20 minutes. Yes, that's right. Each chord rings for a variable amount of time, and his attack and release of the piano keys is varied in such a way as to produce some slight reverberation inside the piano, even after the chord has ended. Sure, it's tedious, but so is watching waves roll onto the beach. The trick to this is just to sit and focus on the flow of the chords; like snowflakes (or waves on the beach, to preserve my prior analogy), no two are quite alike.

Still, that's not a lot to hang your hat on. This would be a two-star album if not for the second side-long track, the very seductive "Cafe-Table-Musik". This piece presents a series of lovely repeated figures on the piano (melodies this time, not just chords), usually using the same compositional trick you've heard on King Crimson's "Frame by Frame": in this case two repeated figures laid on top of each other, one in 4/4 and one in 5/4, the effect of which is a phasing effect, and every so often (thanks to mathematics) the two figures "meet" again. It makes for a very pleasant, dreamy effect. There are about four of these in all, and they are interspersed with snippets of conversation, spoken word tapes, I guess meant to convey the feeling of being in a cafe. This track always makes me smile. It's the "Alan's Psychedelic Breakfast" of the RPI world, I suppose.

This is more of an experimental, minimalist album, probably not of much interest to most progressive rock fans, and newcomers would be well advised to check out Battiato's first few albums before tackling this one. I enjoy it a lot, though, and feel comfortable with a three star rating.

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