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Franco Battiato - Pollution CD (album) cover


Franco Battiato


Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.66 | 91 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
3 stars 3.5 stars really!!!

Somewhat in the line of his debut album, Franco Battiato did make an interesting second record without falling into the trap: making a duplicate or making a negative film of his "successful" (all things considered) debut work. With an interesting citrus artwork, this album like most of his early ones have disputable production values (in terms of quality of sound, but musical choices also) as Massara and Tissico had butchered Capsicum Red beforehand, but here the job is correct, if far from perfect. Needless to say that the Artis CD reissue is straight from vinyl, since we hear two distinct pops and a few more crackles, and they're lucky that Mr Kellogg has never heard of these albums or else the lawyers would have a field day. But enough complaining, because what we have here is n highly original (and totally whacked out) album that goes opposite of the vast majority of Italian prog of those years. For this Pollution FB's group have lost their "sound makers" and gained two more musicians also doodling with the VCS3 synths.

Starting on a very shaky symphonic orchestra line (Silenzio), then suddenly shifting into a basic electric guitar punkish strumming, underlined by a gloomy organ (ORE 9) and ending in thunder-like sounds, Battiato like to lose his listeners from the start. Not that the music makes much sense so far, and one has to wait halfway through the third track Areknames for the album to really start: just as the canon chant praising Arek's names (I tried ;o))), the album takes a turn for the better and gains comparison with Fetus. The start of the 7-min+ Beta is an incredibly weird Terry Riley-esque atmosphere until Franco's piano pulls a line that even Rick Wright would've loved to claim his own. Needless to say that D'Adda's drumming sounds like Mason and the whole thing has a great Floydish scent: this track would not be out of place between Saucerful and Atom Heart Mother.

The flipside start on the Plancton track, on which hearing, Terry Riley would've sent his lawyers (busy law firms keeps the organized crime in business) and is a goodie and the best of this side of the slice of wax. The almost 9-min title track is clearly the album's centrepiece (but not the highlight, imho), starting on waves sounds and sounds of waves (clearly the VCS3 is the album's star instrument) for a long stretch before dissonant Battiato guitars and out-of-tune choirs and weird cheap "Moog-like" sounds and other odd ditties.. Bubbles sound announce the very quiet and closing track, which could emanate from Umma Gumma, except for the irritating sobbing sounds heard throughout.

Mostly FB's early albums have kept enough charms for progheads to keep listening and starters to discover, but Pollution like many other of his early albums have not aged well, partly due to disputable production. Still worth discovering and the odd spin now and then, though!!

Sean Trane | 3/5 |


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