Mike Batt


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Despite several early-'70s releases under the moniker the Mike Batt Orchestra, this is regarded by Batt himself as his solo debut. On Schizophonia, Batt finally was able to realize, in a tangible way, his desire to incorporate intelligent pop, prog, and orchestrated rock into a unified body of work. Needless to say, he wasn't able to do that with his previous associations with the Wombles and Steeleye Span, among others. A keyboard player by trade, Batt never allows his instrument of choice to dictate the development and outcome of his music. Batt's true skill lies in large-ensemble arrangements that include the standard rock & roll configuration of electric guitars, bass, and drums. On Schizophonia, Batt enlists the services of several key musicians who've worked with him in the past and who would appear in future recordings of his; among them are guitarist Chris Spedding, percussionist Ray Cooper, and steel guitar player B.J. Cole. Steeleye Span members Rick Kemp and Peter Knight make cameo appearances as well. Noteworthy tracks include the predominantly instrumental "Insh'allah," a heavily orchestrated piece with Middle Eastern motifs, and "Voices in the Dark," a more straightforward rocker, again with orchestral accompaniment. This is an ambitious and well-conceived effort that would pave the way for several more such recordings for Epic.

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