Franco Battiato

Fetus

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On this '70s outing, an early work by the Italian experimental pop composer, the great singer was influenced considerably by his background in experimental electronic music. As a student of Karlheinz Stockhausen, Franco Battiato was enthusiastic about electronic music, and found his voice as a minimalist composer who combined avant-garde minimalism, experimental rock, and popular forms into a strange hybrid of abstract sound that touches on Tangerine Dream-like passages. Titles such as "Una Cellula," "Energia," "Fenomenologia," and "Mutazione" may indicate that this is a heavy concept album indeed, and the theme of birth and rebirth may well have been a hot topic of the time. Battiato's albums can simultaneously be a display of genius and an overindulgent mess of '70s-style studio tricks, and it is that fine line of tension that somehow makes them all sublime. A common thread runs through his work right up until his 2000 release, Fleurs. Whatever the trends in popular music of the time, he appropriates them into his own form, with his idiosyncratic songs remaining centrifugal regardless of the wildness of the experiment. Often getting very heady along the way, Battiato's conceptual and narrative realizations are fantastical in a similar fashion to those of David Bowie and Scott Walker.

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