Camilla Battaglia

EMIT: Rotator Tenet

On Camilla Battaglia’s first two albums as a leader, one can’t help notice the conspicuous absence of piano. It would be unusual for any vocalist, and even more so given the artist’s famous father, Italian piano virtuoso Stefano Battaglia. Camilla also is an accomplished keyboardist, but relegates the instrument to mostly textural considerations, helping to highlight her astute sense of harmony and pitch. Her clear and supple voice frames the words of Sylvia Plath, Martin Heidegger and Fredrich Nietzsche within winding modal and chromatic melodies, delivered with gorgeous fearlessness. The multitude of melodies swirl around innovative rhythmic cycles, heavily punctuated by raucous grooves from bassist Andrea Lombardini and drummer Bernardo Guerra. Clever ostinato patterns break down into poignant pauses only to erupt into new sections of fiery drama, accentuated by virtuosic sparring between altoist Michele Tino and trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire. But there’s an underlying order to the cacophony, each piece folding in on itself, keeping with the album’s overarching theme exhibited in titular palindromes. Clearly a great deal of thought went into constructing this album, and the results couldn’t be more disorienting, in a spectacular way.

On Sale Now
February 2023
Lakecia Benjamin
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