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Franco Battiato - Pollution CD (album) cover


Franco Battiato


Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.66 | 92 ratings

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4 stars Pollution, the 2nd album by Battiato was released in 1972 the same year as his debut album Fetus. As noted by myself and others a more accessible album to traditional fans of rock. The album was a step forwards from Fetus.. and yet a step sideways since from here on... Battiato would take the experiences and direction of Fetus.. and head straight for the heart of the Sun that was L'Egitto prima delle sabbie.

A step forward here? oh yes.. take an afternoon and listen to his albums chronologically. Fetus was mainly a showcase and a first draft if you will for Battiato and his minimalist aspirations for composition and instrumentation. His VCS3 was the 'star' of the album... other instruments were mainly for texture other than the violin of Cariocinesi. Here, both compositionally and of course in instrumentation Battiato has stepped forward. Here he has a traditional band whose instruments often fill in the spaces. Want to hear how the bass guitar works in the context of Battiato's music. For the 70's at least.... look here... for you probably will find little to no bass in any of his albums. Electric guitar.. again... rarely.. and those mainly for texture.. not for riffs or as a structural part of the composition. Drums... as noted in Fetus.. we had some tom-tom work... but want to hear cymbals crash better hear it here. So this was a step forward for him in his musical explorations..


until he moved into the realms of more popular fare.. you would not hear it again so a step sideways if you will. For Sulle Corde di Aries, his next album, would take Fetus.. and improve upon it 100% and then go from there.

Pollution was an album that resonated critically and commercially. Reaching the top 10 in Italy and as I noted in the Fetus review gained a fan of none other than Frank Zappa who gushed about the brilliance of this album and Battiato's work. Much of that can be attributed to to the quality, which transcends all his albums, but the accessibility of the album. The album starts with Il Silenzio Del Rumore which has a Strauss waltz Battiato comes in with some narration... and suddenly.... bam.... the piece explodes into a thundering guitar and drums riff which then is joined by a MAJESTIC organ sequence which is blown apart again and goes into Areknames with a his trademark and trusty VCS3 providing a stately intro before going into the vocal melody before a hair raising synth that rises just as a tornado warning might hit you across the Oklahoma plains. Which will put stand your hair on end trust me hahah. Sounds SO good with the volume all the way up. The vocal harmonies and interplay on this track are simply wonderful. Again.. his taste for melody is simply incredible and songs like this just stay with you long after they are finished. Beta is next... oh my do I love this song. Begins with some wacky VCS3 synth and Battiato's singing in a rather distinctive if he were shouting something out for all to hear. Interesting.. but it fades to a killer bass and drum rhythm with celestial voices like from heaven dancing all around the groove. Some sweet piano playing then comes in, some e-guitar drops in as well and makes for a simply great listening experience. Especially again.. because this is simply so damn different from the rest of what he did. The next song Plancton is in two sections, a VCS3 and acoustic guitar piece that is not bad but for me is the first drop down in quality as far as this album goes, then finishes with with a synth fury. Pollution, the album's title track is next with acoustic guitars, repeating vocal chanting, blaring synth calls, GREAT singing by Battiato. My favorite vocals parts next to Areknames and a nice e-guitar solo. The solo fades to nothing then we have a psych section with aquatic themes with brings us back into the opening sections of the song with the acoustic guitar minus the blaring VCS3's. Ti Sei Mai Chiesto Quale Funzione Hai? brings us to the close of the album but keeping the aquatic theme with a ghosty symphonic melody played over top which bring the album to a close. wow.

Now for ranking this baby.. hard to do... For the site.. giving it 4 stars. Not quite essential for prog fans to consider it essential and I am leaning towards giving Sulle Corde di Aries a 5th star since it has been received so well by prog fans of all stripes. What hurts Pollution as far as ranking it as a masterpiece is it's unique nature.. it really is unlike the rest Battiato's work.. and more like others. 4 stars. For myself. the same 4 stars. A wonderful album with some POWERFUL moments and I find the contrast this album represents fascinating. Highly recommended and may be the best place for new fans of Battiato to start.

Michael (aka Micky)

micky | 4/5 |


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