** 3 LP in bundle** There is no figure in Italian music, nor within the country’s shimmering, expansive avant-garde, who demands the respect and awe offered to Franco Battiato. He is the beginning and the end. An artist whose output, stretching across six decades, is so diverse and singular, that it defies any concrete definition - darting from psychedelic Prog, definitive gestures in the history of Minimalism, to the heights of explicit Pop. Fans of avant-garde and experimental music have long coveted Battiato’s five seminal Minimalist marvels issued between 1974 and 1978 - Clic, M.elle Le "Gladiator", Franco Battiato, Juke Box, and L'Egitto Prima Delle Sabbie, but far fewer are aware of their predecessors, three brilliant albums issued by Bla Bla during the early 1970’s. Fetus, Pollution, and Sulle Corde Di Aries - a stunning trio branching into the outer reaches of Rock and Roll, are among the great gestures in sonic radicalism of the era. We are thrilled to announce their long awaited reissue on vinyl by Superior Viaduct. This is nothing short of a momentous event, placing three of the most remarkable albums of the 1970’s into a new generation’s hands, offering them the attention and appraisal they have always deserved.
Battiato’s career as a singer began during the mid-1960’s, but his attempts within the Pop realms failed to chart success. By the end of the decade his attentions increasingly turned toward radical gestures in experimental electronic music and synthesis. Beginning in 1971 he began working with the fledgling independent label Bla Bla, which would subsequently rise as one of most renowned imprints in Italian music, releasing, in addition to Battito’s music, groundbreaking albums by Aktuala, Juri Camisasca, and a number of others. Issued later that year, his full length debut Fetus shattered nearly every category of music during its day. With foundations formed by the VCS3 synthesizer, it is credited among the first electronic albums created in Italy, though, even to that end, this creation is unwilling to rest so easily within genre or categorisation.
Battiato is often referred to as Italy's answer to Brian Eno, an allusion to his melding of synthesis, avant-garde sensibilities with Pop, and later sculpting of minimalist ambience. Rightfully, that distinction should be reversed. At almost every turn, Battiato was ahead of his more famous peer. Fetus released a full year before Roxy Music’s first album, and two before Eno’s solo debut, Here Come The Warm Jets. Equally, Battaito’s subsequent shift toward radical instrumental music, proceeded Eno’s by leaps and bounds. While heard by few at the time, when framed in its own multilayered context, Battiato’s debut outstrips almost every effort of the early 70’s in ambition and accomplishment.
Fetus is impossible to nail down. Constructed as a thematic whole, enigmatically sub-titled "Ritorno al Mondo Nuovo" (Return to the New World) and dedicated to Aldous Huxley, it skirts effortlessly into the territories of Pop ballad, synthesis, Musique concrète, folk, and psychedelic Prog. Stunning and brilliant on every count, it employs a distinctly detached lyricism, an approach which would spark a new breed of songwriting in Italy. A writhing, gauzily punctuated pool of sound, Fetus is arguably greatest album of 1971, and unquestionably one of the most important albums of decade. Long overlooked and neglected, this reissue, lovingly produced in its original gatefold sleeve, is as important as they come. Absolutely essential on every count.
Pollution, Franco Battiato’s second LP, issued in 1972, catapulted itself into the world on the creative momentum encountered within Fetus. A rich tapestry of diverse sonic organisation, touching the territories of Pop ballad, synthesis, Musique concrète, folk, and psychedelic Prog. Featuring Baroque textures, motorik rhythms, and oblique vocals, it encounters its creator more at ease within these radical realms. This is a world all his own - the ambitious, never before seen heights of Rock and Roll.
Constructed by the same band of collaborators which helped him create its predecessor, augmented by an eighteen-year-old Roberto Cacciapaglia on keys, within Pollution these remarkable voices are pushed into the foreground. Filled with Kraut / Psyche riffs, hypnotic grooves and cinematic flourishes, the album is a topical marvel, a product of the era, built on themes of environmental catastrophe. Futurist allusions seep in through eccentric lyrics, all joined within a stunning, shimmering landscape of sound. This is the album which solidified Battiato’s status as one of the foremost cult figure in music. Like Fetus, Pollution is one of the most important albums of its decade. Long overlooked and neglected, this reissue, lovingly produced in its original gatefold sleeve, is as important as they come. Absolutely essential on every count.
Sulle Corde Di Aries
Sulle Corde Di Aries, issued in 1973, is Battiato's last effort of wild eccentric Pop music before venturing toward more explicitly avant-garde realms. It is arguably the most ambitious and remarkable of the cycle of albums which began with Fetus, pushed further by Pollution. Filled with remarkable energy and creative brilliance, the album is a hint at what was to come, the laboratory in which Battiato's wild mutant seeds were planted. It is a true masterpiece on every count, yet, for those aware of his early work, the most inexplicably overlooked and neglected of the three.
Sulle Corde Di Aries, far more cohesive than its predecessors, is an evolving cycle of four electroacoustic suites - each drenched in structural challenge and shimmering tone, flirting with the minimalism of Terry Riley and the rhythmic brilliance of Can, while managing to sound like nothing else of its day. Though the album features similar vocal treatments to those on Fetus and Pollution, binding them together as a conceptual body, Sulle Corde Di Aries is marked by long extended instrumental passages, as abstract and challenging as anything in the experimental music world, pregnant with allusions folk traditions, while still penetrating and pushing the potential of Pop. The result is overwhelming. Even four and a half decades after its initial release, the album feels revolutionary and stunningly fresh. A tangent in sound, which few others have ever reached. Overwhelmingly beautiful and creatively brilliant, Sulle Corde Di Aries is the final chapter in Battiato's intervention in the realm of Pop music, before his return at the end of the decade. Long overlooked and neglected, this reissue, lovingly produced in its original gatefold sleeve, is as important as they come.
Absolutely essential on every count.