BATTIATO – Pollution

The same year as he issued 'Fetus' - 1972 - Battiato released the follow-up ‘Pollution’, which once again contained some astounding music. ‘Il Silenzio Del Rumore’ opens proceeding with a voice intoning over a Strauss waltz, which is followed by the 20 second ‘31st Decembre 1999-Ore 9’ (it took longer to type the title that to listen to the track). ‘Areknames’ is pretty good progressive rock, with the synth being put to effective use under the chanting vocals of the song. ‘Beta’ is almost a piano based instrumental, but with ghostly female vocals echoing over the track to give it an other-worldly feel. ‘Plancton’ is another Dream-like piece, almost wholly played on synth and with a gentle vocal contribution from Battiato. The title track is an eight and half minute keyboards and vocal piece, combining the gentle sounds of the sea lapping at the shore under a barrage of harsh synths, followed by a short verse and guitar solo, and then more evocative mood music of the Tangerine variety, before ending with an acoustic guitar and vocal section. This is Battiato’s most experimental music, trying to marry together three or four different styles in the same piece, and to his credit generally managing to pull it off. The pastoral ‘Ti Sei Mai Chiesto Quale Funzione Hai’ ends the album with the same voice which opened it intoning forlornly over a background of suitably melancholy synths. While parts of these albums are excellent, I feel that the experimentation sometimes gets in the way, and I would have preferred albums that stuck to one style. Of the two I prefer the second, as it seems to be a more cohesive work , but both are worth hearing if you want an example of an Italian maverick at work.