Boomkat Product Review:
This first ever American LP issue of Fetus , the seminal debut album by Franco Battiato - a venerable grand maestro of Italian prog - kicks off a comprehensive reissue series looking at his formative 1971-1978 period. An unparalleled pop star and famed experimentalist in his homeland, Battiato is beloved by everyone from Nico Vascellari (Ninos Du Brasil) to Lorenzo Senni and prog fans worldwide. These reissues should spread that love farther.
One of the first ever electronic records released in Italy, Fetus is widely considered one of his finest moments, capturing a playful frisson of folk, analog electronics and kosmiche leanings with a blend of pop appeal and conceptual, experimental urges that would unfold in myriad variations across his lengthy catalogue ever since.
Superior Viaduct rightly paint him as Italy’s answer to Brian Eno for his role in bringing Italian pop music up to par with explorative, psychedelic American and British analogs during that era. We’re be inclined to add Tom Zé for his warmer, colourful, auteur-like sound, too.
With Fetus, Battiato riffs on themes of genetic engineering in eight succinct (especially for prog!) songs inspired by Aldous Huxley, following a fine, dreamy line between traditional rock instrumentation and the kosmiche freedom afforded by his VCS3 synthesiser, stretching his imagination from delirious sound collage to rousing folk-rock and operatic chorales with an enchanting sense of naif wonder balanced by a cool curiousity and virtuosic songwriting vision.