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Franco Battiato - Mondi Lontanissimi CD (album) cover


Franco Battiato


Rock Progressivo Italiano

2.67 | 21 ratings

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RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
3 stars I remember Franco Battiato on stage the year he released this album. He was playing his most pop stuff and was very acclaimed by the crowd, but at a certain point he started speaking of his early years, just to introduce "Pollution". It was evident that even if he was clearly satisfied of his success from a commercial point of view he was regretting the lost freedom and for an artist who few years before was laid off from his label because too experimental this period was a real contradiction.

"Mondi Lontanissimi" (Extremely Far Worlds) is an enhancement respect to the previous "Orizzonti Lontani". At least the lineup includes Alberto Radius at guitar and Giusto Pio's violin is replaced by Alfredo Riccardi's cello. The songs are still on the pop side of Battiato, specially the hit single "No Time No Space", but some different influences are starting to (re)appear.

"Via Lattea" (Milky Way) is radio-friendly and too melodic for my tastes but is different from the previous material. The spacial subject gives him the possibility of adding some spacey background sounds and the song is far from the usual 80s uptime rhythms of the previous albums. Not a masterpiece but something is changing.

"Risveglio di Primavera" (Spring Awakenings) is midway. It starts as 80s electropop but develops in a most proggy way. Still very radio-friendly and with the usual nearly nonsense and hermetic lyrics but not bad.

The already mentioned "No Time No Space" was the hit single but is also the most interesting track of the whole album. It's a sort of krautrock with classical interludes and a captivating chorus. The track that I would include in a compilation.

If it wasn't for the very experimental albums released in the late 70s I'd define "Personal Computer" an experimental song. I think it's just an attempt to make his actual public a bit used to the experiments for future releases.

"Temporary Road" is opened by cello and voice and has a baroque flavor. Half of the song is passed when it becomes fully electronic. The melody doesn't change and it's like he wanted to show how the arrangement can change a song into a totally different one. Interesting but not exceptional with Mozart included in the final.

"Il Re del Mondo" (World's King) even being on the pop side of Battiato is another very interesting track from a musical point of view: a chord changes from major to minor and back a number of times before the song begins, then it becomes a sort of instrumental chorus. The soft drumming is very hypnotic (Mason and Fenn will later put plenty of this drumming in their album).

"Chanson Egocentrique" is the other album's hit. I remember that I didn't find it very good actually but the reason of its mainstream success is likely because of the arrangement as it's the song most in line with the actual electronic standards. Not bad but before relistening to this album for the review I have to confess that I had forgotten it.

"I Treni Di Tozeur" (Tozeur's Trains) was another successful track, specially for the baroque cello and the cymbal(electronic this one). In that period in Italy a classical ensemble called "Rondo Veneziano" had a very big success with baroque music with electronic arrangements and the mainstream public was used to this kind of sounds. This song is apparently belonging to that genre but in my opinion it is miles better.

"L'Animale"(The Animal) is just a short closer, but the piano and cello base has something of the old things. Too few, unfortunately, but it's not bad as closer.

In brief this is another non-essential album but is surely better than its closer predecessors. Battiato is about to renew himself for the third time in his very long career.

octopus-4 | 3/5 |


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