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Franco Battiato - Clic CD (album) cover


Franco Battiato


Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.56 | 53 ratings

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4 stars In some ways the natural follow-up to the great Sulle Corde di Aries, in some ways not, but the quality found on that album is just as prevalent on Clic. Instead of the organic, vibrant flow and exoticism found on tracks such as Sequenze e Frequenze, Clic's collection of songs are definitely more out there, with somewhat sterile Kosmiche elements and minimal electronic rhythms and melodies fusing into Battiato's most celestial and "intellectual" work so far. Powerful images of deep blue oceans, cold space and the inner workings of a clock all come to mind when you close your eyes and let the music guide you. Impressively, Battiato's music just becomes more and more emotive going through his discography up to this point, at the same time as it grows more and more enveloped and sterile. There's a confidence and fluidity in the compositions, or a sense of purpose that is lacking on his first two and one that was definitely there, but not as outspoken, on Sulle Corde di Aries. This drive forms a pattern in the otherwise floating compositional style and makes for a reflective, close to meditative listen, brutally taken down to earth by the return of the nostalgic jumps in time via sound clips of the most diverse sorts.

The choice of taking things down a notch musically, favouring care of every note instead of a lively, ever-changing soundscape, may not please everyone though, but as I see it, this marks the high point of Battiato's compositional skill. Every little ingredient matters, and really stands out on its own. It grabs you, guides you, and eventually brings you to unexpected musical climaxes where you enjoy the sudden bloom even more.

On a general scale, a lot of what you're going to hear on Clic is synthesisers and piano. The distant, towering and floating tones that kick off the album on I Cancelli della Memoria forms a mysterious foundation around which a contrastingly shrill saxophone can work at full effect. These synth runs often stay in the background, almost hazily, and just slowly changes along with the rest of the music. Add to this a minimalist piano and mesmerizing Krautrock-like guitar and experimental vocals, and you end up in a territory not far from Popol Vuh (or why not Tangerine Dream). The dry and artificial looped bass lines and scrambled pseudo-percussion shouldn't fit in, but it's impossible not to get dragged into its propulsive beat.

On the other hand, Clic can just as often be a spindly sound collage, enhancing the void rather than filling it out, only to grow into an up-close and personal vocal performance by the vocally chameleon-like Battiato. Crystal-clear, nimble melodies that all of a sudden transforms into a celebratory string section or a maze of whirling, overdubbed synth explorations.

It's hard to pinpoint a certain mood, since the focus constantly changes, and you get a feeling that is music by a contemplative observer rather than by an emotional perceiver. The borderline between new-agey Oldfield symphonic sensibilities, avant free-form, minimalism, and rich electronic droning is paper-thin. The last song, Ethika fon Ethica, is perhaps not even music. It's memory seen through a chance generator. As such, it's a fractured album, but that goes for most of his output anyway.

Perhaps not for everyone, but if this seems like an appealing melange, I don't think you'll find something better.

4 stars.


LinusW | 4/5 |


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