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Thread: FEATURED ALBUM : Mike Batt - Schizophonia

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    Moderator Duncan Glenday's Avatar
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    FEATURED ALBUM : Mike Batt - Schizophonia

    I grew up with this one - and then it fell from my memory banks until about a year ago, when a friend reminded me of it. So I spun it for the first time in a LONG time, and love it all over again!

    Mike Batt had successes with The Wombles, SteelEye Spen, and multiple movie scores including another earworm from my past - the soundtrack to the movie Caravans.

    Per Allmusic:
    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.
    https://www.allmusic.com/album/schiz...a-mw0000482712

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  2. #2
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    his music is not my cup of tea, i'm afraid.

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    I've always had a massive fondness for this album.

    I love the whole first side (on vinyl) - even with the slightly cod middle eastern tonalities. There are a couple of dodgy moments on the second side but ends really strong with Voices in the Dark/Don't Let me be Misunderstood.

    Still gets played regularly chez moi.

  4. #4
    Not familiar with this one.

  5. #5
    Batt is much loved here! A fine choice! Great Uncle Bulgaria agrees with me!
    Sleeping at home is killing the hotel business!

  6. #6
    Batt’s prog-esque output (this one and Tarot Suite, mainly) has been on my radar just about forever, but the only stuff I’ve heard has been some of the Wombles stuff. Go figure!
    Confirmed Bachelors: the dramedy hit of 1883...

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    Member Mr.Krautman's Avatar
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    Unfortunately Mike Batt (a very talented composer/producer/musician/conductor) never received the recognition he deserved in the prog world (he's not even listed on progarchives). Maybe because he is mainly associated with the Wombles and his solo work is too patchy and hard to categorize, including various elements like (neo)classical, orchestral, experimental , cheesy pop songs and (yes)... prog ! All of his solo albums are mixed bags of very interesting parts and some unlistenable ones. I very much like his 80ies video-concept album Zero Zero but I'm probably alone: Classical orchestra intermixed with Fairlight samples, drum machines and some (dreadful) new wave pop songs anyone ? Cheaply produced video supporting a Tommy/Subterranea like concept story ? You'll either like or hate it (the latter for the most) but there's nothing else like it. And his Hunting of The Snark musical project constantly lingers between grandiose and grotesque... MB is definitely a very original and unique artist, check it out:



    Last edited by Mr.Krautman; 07-12-2019 at 06:39 AM.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by wilcox660 View Post
    Great Uncle Bulgaria agrees with me!
    Last edited by Meme Prog Mutation; 07-11-2019 at 09:40 PM. Reason: wrong emoji
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Krautman View Post
    Unfortunately Mike Batt (a very talented composer/producer/musician/conductor) never received the recognition he deserved in the prog world (he's not even listed on progarchives). Maybe because he is mainly associated with the Wombles and his solo work is too patchy and hard to categorize, including various elements like (neo)classical, orchestral, experimental , cheesy pop songs and (yes)... prog !
    Maybe because he's not prog at all.

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    Member Kanukisbrave's Avatar
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    Zero Zero is classic! ; Hunting of The Snark musical project constantly lingers between grandiose and grotesque.. totally agree with that! Waves is pretty decent too!

    "The baggage that I carry would sink a thousand ships
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    Member Mr.Krautman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by waren View Post
    Maybe because he's not prog at all.
    Maybe M.B is a little bit proggier than Bruce Springsteen ? (already 106 posts in another thread !)

    For me he's definitely prog/pop/experimental... or whatever you would like to name it. He has a very personal and unique style but like most classically trained musicians/composers trying to integrate pop with classical/experimental music he's not well received in the smallish prog community. This is also sadly true for Eberhard Schoener and (to a lesser extent) David Bedford who according to your (seemingly very restricted) definition of the genre shouldn't be considered as "prog" either...
    Last edited by Mr.Krautman; 07-17-2019 at 10:50 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Krautman View Post

    For me he's definitely prog/pop/experimental... or whatever you would like to name it. He has a very personal and unique style but like most classically trained musicians/composers trying to integrate pop with classical/experimental music he's not well received in the smallish prog community.
    Definitely, featured album is art rock (i.e. the 1970s' British melodic rock with artistic pretensions, like 10cc, Supertramp, Be Bop Deluxe and so on) but Batt is not proggy enough to find his place in progarchives as "Crossover Prog" nor even as "Prog-Related".

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    Quote Originally Posted by waren View Post
    Definitely, featured album is art rock (i.e. the 1970s' British melodic rock with artistic pretensions, like 10cc, Supertramp, Be Bop Deluxe and so on) but Batt is not proggy enough to find his place in progarchives as "Crossover Prog" nor even as "Prog-Related".
    And who gives a crap what progarchives think? This album and Tarot Suite (haven’t heard any others) fall as much into the fringes of 70’s progressive rock as early Alan Parsons, BBD etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by taliesin View Post
    And who gives a crap what progarchives think?
    Progarchives is not a one-man website, it's a team work and it's pretty inclusive - especially regarding British bands and solo artists from the 1970s (what is understandable given that the progressive rock was originated in Britain). Thus, you can be sure that Mike Batt is not omitted from progarchives due to someone's ignorance, but because he has nothing to do with progressive rock.

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    Member Kanukisbrave's Avatar
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    Is He prog? Here's a few examples of his work... definitely on the fringe...






    "The baggage that I carry would sink a thousand ships
    My motives are uncertain, intentions not altogether pure
    So now don't you want me beside you just like it was before? "

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    Quote Originally Posted by waren View Post
    Thus, you can be sure that Mike Batt is not omitted from progarchives due to someone's ignorance, but because he has nothing to do with progressive rock.
    With all due respect to the cumulative brainpower of progarchives this is nonsense.

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    I have Mike Batt Orchestra , 1974 lp.

    Cover versions. (Up there with Rick Wakeman "Piano Vibrations" lp.)

  18. #18
    Is Zero-Zero meant to be funny?
    No matter what anyone says, you are the decider of how you will listen to music.

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    Quote Originally Posted by taliesin View Post
    With all due respect to the cumulative brainpower of progarchives this is nonsense.
    +1
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