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Franco Battiato - Battiato [Aka: Zā] CD (album) cover


Franco Battiato


Rock Progressivo Italiano

2.05 | 17 ratings

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Special Collaborator
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
2 stars Avant music is in general harder to describe than to comment. In this case the situation is different.

Also known as "Za", that's the title of the instrumental piece on the vinyl side A, its just a repetition of a single piano chord with different intervals and after each chord there's what initially seems just produced by harmonics, but later you can realize that's a keyboard playing a sort of melody. What is interesting is the idea: instead of a melody played simoultaneously to the chord as usual, here the melody comes after the chord. It fills the intervals and, honestly is not properly a melody.

There are little changes in the intervals and in how the keyboard fills them or not. Don't expect that anything more interesting than this can happen. However, this is not so bad as I'm describing it. The important is choosing the right moment for listening to it. Headphones, a relaxing environment, a sofa, coloured lights and it can be a good background. The problem is that once you have found the right mood, I mean after 8 minutes from the start, there's a pause of silence and the chord changes, the intervals are shorter and there's less room for what I have called "melody". Now it's more question of harmonics than of melody.

After 3 more minutes the intervals increase their length, there's along blank moment then the chord is played higher. I also have the impression of an error at about minute 12:30. It's like the pianist makes an error, so to avoid restarting the recording she repeats it three or four times.

At minute 14 we are back to the keyboard after the chord. The volume of the chord increases slightly. All the 19 minutes of this track are made of very little variations, but they lack of any kind of complexity. Close to the end the keyboard's notes become prevalent and there's also the impression that something is changing, like the song is starting now after a long intro. At minute 17:40 there are TWO PIANO impressive change.

Jokes apart, this last two minutes may be the coda of a normal track. There's something similar in a song on the second album of Caravan and also the long coda of Renaissance's "At the Harbour" comes to my mind... but it suddenly finishes.

Now the second track: a patchwork of recordings like in "M.lle Le Gladiator", with some musical parts here and there. What the voices say hasn't much sense and also the soprano is not easily understanding. If you have ever been to a performance contemporary ballet, you may have listened to something of this kind. The piano parts are not bad. They are repetitive but relaxing. I would have preferred 19 minutes of "this" piano on the previous track. Unfortunately after this piece of piano the patchwork restarts. It's not too bad, but this is soemthing created, I think, for a single listen. It can be used for a ballet, but if I wasn't trying to review all the albums of Battiato I wouldn't have listened to this more than once.

There are some more minutes of piano, then a "strange voice" overdubbed and modified by some effects that I think is Battiato himself. Similar to a mantra, then the patchwork again.

Some more piano with whispered voices below, it's a sort of studio for beginners, but quite nice. Who knows Battiato's later efforts enough can recognize his touch in this short part. The soprano is back and now it's properly music until the sudden end.

Collectors/fans only is a good definition as it's not completely poor. It's probably 1.5 stars, but I reserve the 1 star ratings for things worse than this.

octopus-4 | 2/5 |


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