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Franco Battiato - Campi Magnetici CD (album) cover


Franco Battiato


Rock Progressivo Italiano

2.26 | 8 ratings

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RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
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 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.

octopus-4 | 2/5 |


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