Sunday, May 19, 2013

Lucio Battisti – Una donna per amico

   Italian song, like Italian design, is a class of its own. Artistic possibilities coming from the land with such plenty of sun, with rich soil and magnificent landscapes, blossom in culture with lots of contexts and experiences. Melodic material always depends of language, and Italian language has exceptional values of rhythm and intonation. It was observed in the history of Italian opera, although there were some other factors creating singing culture of Italy. Every Festival of Sanremo shows a bunch of great songs based on perfectly balanced lyrics and music. Singing is Italian number one tradition and song in Italy is better than in other countries. One of best personalities in Italian song scene for few decades was Lucio Battisti, an artist remembered far away from Italy for great successes of his seventies albums, especially the one called Una donna per amico (A Woman as Friend) which became a real blockbuster.
   During the time Battisti recorded his 13th album, he was in breakthrough moment of his career. He was very popular personality with series of number one hits, presented in Italian television as well as on the radio in Italy and abroad. One year earlier his Greatest Hits were published by Numero Uno, becoming an opportunity to take stock of the achievements and artistic ambitions. He made this album as the kind of closing all past trends and ideas. His new album recorded in 1978 was indicating clearly the whole new direction. Lucio Battisti, who was always a trend setter, presented his songs in somehow new perspective, in original arrangements – just like he intended to make the sharp turn from disco and heading to the future in much easier way.

Lucio Battisti – Una donna per amico (1978)

   Album was recorded in legendary The Manor Studios in Oxfordshire and partly in studio Audio International in London. Producer and keyboardist Geoff Westley was the one who decided about the musical shape of the album. He was also arranger and giving background voices together with other singers. Musicians were mainly British - drummer Gerry Conway, playing bass guitar Paul Westwood, guitarist Pip Williams and others. Original idea was to create arrangements with lots of silence, which was fresh in disco era and hits overcrowd and excessively filled in. As many times before Battisti wrote his songs to lyrics by Mogol. This duo made perfect set of songs, even if some of them are still in disco dancing rhythm tiring easiness. Songs are about changing emotions and different relations with woman and about different faces of friendship and love.
   From very first bars of opening song Prendila cosi’ (Take It As It Comes) this album shows new concept of pop music. In place of decided disco rhythms, listeners received cozy arrangements with studio refinement. The band was recorded and engineered with lots of space. Arrangements are filled with slightly syncopated discreet rhythms and shadowy synthesizer’s background. Alto saxophone solo by Derek Grossmith gives this song a smooth jazzy touch, which is not a common feature yet, but reveals general tendency exploding in 80’s with different implementations of this idea in recordings by Carmel and Sade. The place of this record in history of Italian popular music is fixed. It hit the top of Italian charts immediately after it was issued, and although this record was published in December 1978, with nearly one million copies sold, it was on 4th position of bestselling albums of this year. Thirty five years after release one can say it is basic album for whole generations.

No comments:

Post a Comment