Franco Battiato is a semi-celebrated Italian singer and progressive musician, but if his first full-length album 'Fetus' is anything to go by (which it isn't necessarily, considering his extensive discography since), his talents clearly lie squarely in the singing department alone, and even these are hardly used to any effect. This is a heavily keyboard-driven album in a seventies pop style, more like Jean-Michel Jarre than Vangelis but ultimately sounding a lot more like the bad, ironic synthesisers spoofed in the opening titles of the modern-day TV series 'Look Around You.' The album's opening melody reminded me of this more than anything else, and it never gets particularly better.
Although this is experimental music to some small extent, the experiments themselves are all very weak and often nonsensical, as movements cease for no apparent reason, only to resume a few seconds later or follow an unconnected style, such as a switch from keyboard melody to an acoustic guitar and singing section, and then back. There's also an irritating tendency towards repetition even down to specific melodies being reprised in the subsequent song, and inevitably it's only the couple of tracks that avoid synthesisers completely that end up being palatable, though these pieces ('Energia' and 'Meccanica') are sadly completely dull. In the end, this album's only value is its cheese factor for anyone interested in laughing at what a group of Italian musicians thought might have sounded quite good in 1971.
The only truly exciting synthesiser section comes in the second track where it builds to a scream, and those in 'Fenomenologia' could be most accurately described as desperate, as if they're running from something or struggling to impress. The worst song of the lot (which is some commendable feat) is 'Anafase,' which literally sounds like someone playing an early Namco arcade game like Galaxians or PacMan, but oddly predates them by a decade. At least now we know where they got their kerrazy ideas from; an album called 'Fetus.'
2. Una Cellula
Disc #1 Tracklisting
2 Una Cellula