Battiato — Fetus
(Water 168, 1971/2006, CD)
Battiato — Pollution
(Water 174, 1972/2006, CD)
Battiato — Sulle Corde di Aries
(BMG 74321 58555 2, 1973/2000, CD)
Franco Battiato — Clic
(Ricordi 74321 58551 2, 1974/1998, CD)
by Mike McLatchey, Published 1995-07-01
Franco Battiato, as is well known, was an Italian pop singer who for a span in the 70s made a string of very experimental albums that fit in the vein of groups such as Opus Avantra or Pierrot Lunaire. Battiato on all of these titles (and beyond) set out to create new musical forms, a task he handled admirably. This chronicles the first four of the eight Battiato titles released by Artis. The other four may be covered in a future issue.
Fetus was his first and certainly not as impressive as his later titles. There are a lot of influences here — Italian popular music, folk, electronic experiments and tape collage all swirled into an unusual tapestry of music. I would say his folk / pop influences show through the strongest here, and with the albums short duration there's not a lot you can sink your teeth into.
Pollution, however, is a much more successful outing, with the disparate styles blending into a much more cohesive whole. Battiato's music can jump from neo classical to Italian progressive rock (somewhere between Sensations Fix and Le Orme) to space rock like Gong and on to bizarre tape collages with narration. It all adds up to a fascinating and innovative album with more humanity than you'd expect from this type of experimentation.
Sulle Corde di Aries was Battiato's third release and showed his fascination for electronic, minimalist, and systemic musics. As such, it is quite similar to Pollution except much more electronic based and with a more definitive style. There are also a lot of modern classical strains coming through here and a great spacey feel again reminding me of Sensations Fix or Gong at times. A simply fascinating album.
Clic is the Italian version and not the version that was on Island records. It too moves in a far more electronic direction, sounding like an avant garde Klaus Schulze with lots of systemic patterns and neo classical vocals. This is often quoted as his best album, and certainly deserves a listen. The latter three titles all deserve the attention of those into experimental or avant garde rock albums.
Related artist(s): Franco Battiato
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more
You Can Be Part of an Ambient Electronic Project – The Gesture of History is a new electronic project put together by Sam Rosenthal of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Steve Roach, and violist Sam Shadow. The music started as an instrumental track Rosenthal was working on for a Black Tape album, but took on a life of its own and demanded further enhancements. The majority of the funds raised will go to manufacturing costs for LP and CD editions, as well as other items as detailed on the Kickstarter page. » Read more
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more