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"Combine the soul of heart wrenching ballads, the romance of a handcrafted acoustic guitar, add a delicious dash of European charm and sophistication and you have Arthur Batakin.
Arthurs beautifully crafted album of 10 original songs, titled “Somewhere in time“ are all written “from the heart”. Featuring adult contemporary tracks drawn from life experiences, the tracks embody the essence of European adult classics. However, his status as the quintessential European is something of an irony for a man who closely identifies himself with his Australian heritage.
Arthur would be the last to compare himself with those artists who others have such as Enrique and Julio Iglesias, Charles Aznavour and James Taylor whom he regards as truly gifted vocalists, preferring to think of himself as a songwriter, composer and guitarist who also happens to sing.
Almost all of Arthurs songs deal with love, relationship and their permutations running the gamut from joyous love songs such as “Somewhere in time“ to songs that you can’t help but shed a tear to such as “Forever in your arms“. Latin enthusiasts will embrace the sensuality of “Obsession” and “Falling in Love”. Each song is a complete journey, a veritable feast of emotion guaranteed to satisfy the most discerning palate. A smooth romantic crooner with a touch of European passion – the perfect music accompaniment for candle lit dinners, red wine with friends and cozy nights by the fire!"
By Jennifer Matthews (Gold Coast, Australia)
Producer at “Bignote Productions Australia”
"A consummate European artist with Australian heritage, Arthur Batakin seems like the kind of guy that could sweep any female within earshot off her feet. Somewhere in Time is a collection of his own compositions, all ten of which share a singular focus – love. The album features songs about loving, losing love, deciphering love, and finding love, among other amorous things. Batakin, with his soap opera looks and relentless sentimentality, sings and writes like a man who has run the relationship gauntlet more than once. Whether or not that’s true, he certainly has a handle on what a lady likes to hear, and even a few things she may not.
Batakin proves he’s more than a singer on Somewhere in Time, performing on acoustic guitar, crafts timeless arrangements with an eye toward classic adult material. He’s the musical embodiment of the hopeless romantic, and the clichés of the format are no match for his unyielding passion. If this all sounds a bit over-the-top, that depends on your perception. Even those who may poke fun at Batakin’s overwrought approach and sappy material will have to admit that the guy is very good at what he does. He’s the long-haired “Italian loverboy” who speaks English with an accent made for melting hearts, and if his music could be put into art, it would no doubt be appropriate for the cover of a romance novel.
The most striking instrumental elements are the guitars, which coil clearly and subtly around Batakin’s singing. They chime and ring around his smoky croon in the sparse “Though the Night,” add verve to the sensual dance number “Falling in Love,” lend heaving drama to the resigned acceptance of the breakup tune “Be Free,” and take on a mystical, almost Celtic quality in the unbearably sad “Forever in Your Arms.” On “Forever in Your Arms,” Batakin plunges so deeply into the depths of regret and longing, the listener can’t help but be pulled down with him. If there’s such a thing as an epic love song, this certainly is, clocking in at a soul-searching 7 minutes, and Batakin effortlessly wrings every tear out of the tune. “Ten Yellow Roses” is less devastating but still plenty heartbroken. Batakin utilizes swelling strings to great effect here, creating a song so lovelorn that even the iciest heart would melt under his lyrical heat.
By contrast, “In You I’m Found” and “The Best Love Story” are practically cheery. In both he’s asking for someone to be with him forever with markedly happy musical accompaniment. It’s not exactly lighthearted, evidenced by his breathless desire in “The Best Love Story,” but definitely far less sorrowful. “Obsession” is the most up-tempo tune on the album. Confessional verses lead into a vaguely Latin-flavored chorus that begs for elegant dancing and sensual interaction. The title track, “Somewhere in Time,” also folds Spanish guitar figures and tones into a traditional love ballad format, further exposing the heart of Batakin’s wonderful arrangements. On Somewhere in Time, Arthur Batakin proves that the old-fashioned love song is still a workable entity and that there’s no limit to the passion that he brings to his music."
Review by Bryan Rodgers (North Carolina, USA)
Bryan Rodgers has worked in the music business for 15 years, first as a writer, then as a DJ, A & R person.
Arthur Batakin delivers an album of romantic ballads with Somewhere In Time. The album is acoustic with a strong Spanish flavor on many of the tracks. That’s not what you’d expect from a singer-songwriter from Australia. Arthur wrote all ten songs featured on Somewhere In Time.
Arthur is a romantic crooner whose music has been compared to Julio and Enrique Iglesias, as well as Sting. Those are pretty big shoes to try to fill, and in some ways he’s doing a great job. The songs on Somewhere In Time are super-romantic, emotional and mellow - perhaps too mellow. One song has the tendency to flow too easily into the next.
One of the album’s standout songs is “Obsession.” This track is a little livelier, though the concept of an all-consuming love is almost as creepy as Elvis Costello’s “I Want You.” The lyrics speak for themselves: “But the truth is, I don’t care what you say or think. All I want is for her to be there in my sweetest dream. To see her face, to touch her hair, to smell her skin all night long. Is it love or just a desire burns my troubled soul.”
One of the most memorable of the love songs featured here is the album’s opening track, “Falling In Love.” Arthur’s lyrics really speak to the heart. They also appeal to anyone who longs for the fairy-tale romance. This is the song that could very well be played during a romantic comedy when the guy gets the girl and they share the final long, deep kiss, and all the women in the theatre sigh. If you aren’t in the mood to watch a romantic comedy, just play this song and you’ll get the same heartfelt sigh in only a matter of minutes.
The most playful song on Somewhere In Time is “The Best Love Story.” This song is really light and poppy. This song is pure fun, and that is something you won’t find much of on this album. Most of the songs are serious, so getting to see this side of Arthur is refreshing.
Arthur has a voice that, like that style of the ballads, has some Latin qualities to it. At the same time, however, some listeners may find themselves thinking of Fish, the original vocalist of the progressive rock band Marillion. Like Fish, Arthur’s voice brings drama and life to the songs that he performs. These songs are all about love, longing and romance, but those qualities couldn’t be conveyed quite so well without his voice.
For listeners that crave slow, Latin inspired ballads, Somewhere In Time is the best album to get your romantic groove on. It begs listeners to curl up before a raging fire with a glass of wine and snuggle as the music plays on.
Review by Andrea Guy (Pennsylvania, USA)
Andrea Guy hails from Southwestern Pennsylvania where she collaborates with several friends on an online music site called Mossip.
If Arthur Batakin’s music honestly reflects his character, he is a true romantic. Somewhere in Time is an album stocked - all the way from track one to track ten -- with love songs. These are not typical post-modern love songs, where the whole concept of lasting, romantic love is questioned. Oh no, this is love music for hardcore romantics.
Therefore, when Batakin sings about being “Forever in Your Arms,” he’s convinced beyond the shadow of a doubt that – if it weren’t for jobs, meals and other meaningless endeavors – he would live for eternity in the arms of his beloved. Let’s face it; we just don’t hear nearly enough of this kind of ultra-romantic music these days.The radio is mostly populated with love songs for realists. Realists don’t think they’ll ever be in someone else’s arms forever. ‘Forever,’ in modern times, is a ‘pretty darn long time.’ Forever is however long it takes for one relationship to peter out, and the next one to begin. In Batakin’s view, there is no ‘next one.’ To him, those who speak of the ‘next one,’ are also those of very little faith.
Batakin sings all these songs in a Latin lover accented voice, even though he actually calls Australia home. If Batakin didn’t seem so doggone sincere – and believe it, he sounds as sincere as he can be – one might start to think he was merely putting us on. That’s because he oftentimes sounds like he’s playing a character in a movie. This is, of course, and old, old movie. It’s one of those happily ever after films, which they just don’t make anymore. The problem with Batakin’s voice is it’s as if what we’re hearing is not a real voice, but someone playing the part of a desperate romantic, instead.
All of these songs are ballads, which feature musicianship as romantic as the singing. It seems as though this album should also come with a long stem rose, a chilled bottle of wine and some romantic, scenic outdoor setting.
Lyrically, these songs are romantic fantasy novels put to music. Batakin says all the things a woman might want to hear – if, by the way, she has her heart and body set upon being seduced. This lyrical approach is also problematic, however. It’s as though Batakin is a salesman, telling all the girls exactly what they want to hear. Only “In You I’m Found” is a little reality mixed in with Pretend Land. On it, Batakin asks a woman if she will still love him when he’s old. Will she love him even if he gets sick? Nevertheless, it’s difficult to picture the good looking Batakin old and beaten down by life. One has to assume that he will be one of those distinguished grey hairs, if and when he ever gets old and grey.
Perhaps there’s still a place for Batakin’s music in this world. Maybe it’s just what the world needs, what with all its big international problems. If men and women can just escape into lovers’ fantasy land, with a steady soundtrack of Batakin music, maybe the rampant ugliness won’t be so conspicuous.
Review by Dan MacIntosh (California, USA)
Dan MacIntosh has been a professional music journalist for 30 years and his work has regularly appeared in many local and national publications, including CCM, CMJ, Paste, Mean Street, Chord, HM, Christian Retailing, Amplifier, Inspirational Giftware, Stereo Subversion, Indie-Music, Soul–Audio, Country Standard Time and Spin.com.
To hear Arthur Batakin, one would get the impression that he’s from Spain, Mexico or even Italy. Certainly Latin sounds permeate his music and vocal performances.
A gentle, slow moving cut with pretty acoustic guitar and tasteful strings, “Falling in Love,” sets the tone nicely. It features an energetic rhythm section and pace. “Forever in Your Arms” is much mellower at the start. The acoustic guitar that guides it is intricate and delicate. It grows out in classic ways from there. It’s another powerful love ballad with its roots in the Latin traditions. The arrangement really builds up with a lot of orchestration and layers of sound adding to the effect. It’s one of the strongest pieces on the set.
The title track is another mellow, balladic cut. In some ways, it has a more modern musical element on hand. Still, the strings and other elements hold the Latin ballad textures in place nicely. It does lean further towards an adult contemporary sound, though. A gentle and intricate guitar melody opens “In You I’m Found.” That melody continues with piano also creating the sound. The arrangement is classic and powerful. Yet, there are hints of modern music in some of the background sounds, particularly the rhythm section. It’s really a delicate ballad, even though it gets built up from that basis at times.
An acoustic guitar workout certainly takes center stage on “Obsession.” In fact, guitar builds without accompaniment for almost the first minute and a half. The musical styles heard on the rest of the set show up after the vocals enter. There’s a bit of a rhythmic groove to the piece. It’s a little different than some of the other music presented on the set, but still feels at home. There is certainly some tasty acoustic guitar soloing present on the tune. There’s a bit of a shuffling mode later and some of the vocals lose the Latin feeling.
“When I Hold Your Hand” features a deliberate pace and some of the most balladic Latin sounds heard on the set. In many ways it’s the mellowest piece of the whole album. Interestingly enough, though, there’s a bit of a twist in some lyrical quotes to The Beatles. Even the title could be seen to paraphrase the Beatles a bit, particularly when paired with the “All we need is love” lines in the song. There’s a bridge in the song that feels a bit more like standard adult contemporary music and it turns towards more rock oriented material after that.
Spoken vocals, accompanied mostly by just acoustic guitar, open “Ten Yellow Roses.” While the slow moving, balladic number doesn’t hold any big surprises, it’s evocative and effective. Batakin’s vocal delivery is very impassioned and a great string arrangement adds to the affect later. This is a mellow track, but also one of the highlights of the CD.
“The Best Love Story” closes the album. It has a bouncing melody to the music, a bit like something from 1950s pop rock. Instead, the cut really brings some variety to the table in that it’s much less rooted in the Latin music that predominates the majority of the CD. It really has sort of a James Taylor meets 1950s music texture. It’s an interesting way to end things.
All in all, Somewhere in Time is a satisfying release that should please fans of crooner music and Latin love ballads. The sound stretches a bit beyond those roots, but only a little. It never ceases to be entertaining, though.
Review by Gary Hill (Illinois, USA)
Gary is a musician. He has been writing for quite a long time, having worked as a freelancer for such publications as All Music Guide. Hill’s book The Strange Sound of Cthulhu: Music Inspired by the Writings of H. P. Lovecraft was published in 2006. He created Music Street Journal in February of 1998.
With his sultry, accented singing voice, warmly produced sound, and loving lyrics, Arthur Batakin infuses his 2011 album, Somewhere In Time with a tremendous amount of personality. Aside from his singing and songwriting duties, Batakin also constructs the album’s backbone with his acoustic guitar work. Over the course of 10 songs, Somewhere In Time maintains an exotic, Latin atmosphere through Batakin’s voice and the heavy use of Spanish guitar.
Somewhere In Time has a very warm and soothing quality to it while still maintaining an exotic sound that Batakin brings in with his writing and singing.
Review by Heath Andrew (New York, USA)
Heath Andrews discovered a passionate love for music at the hands of Huey Lewis & The News. Inspiring him greatly, he attended Ithaca College, obtaining a B.S. in Radio/Television and scriptwriting. During his award-winning tenure there, he hosted and produced multiple programs for the station 106VIC and interviewed musicians such as David Knopfler, Nils Lofgren, and Bruce Hornsby.
Australian singer Arthur Batakin has been compared with many of the great Adult Contemporary vocalists and song writers, such as Enrique Iglesias, James Taylor and Charles Aznavour. With such a strong list of influences, it is no wonder that Batakin’s latest album, Somewhere in Time, reflects each of these artists at one time or another, as the talented vocalist lets his influences come to the forefront of his writing and singing. This connection to the past brings a level of familiarity to the record, while at the same time keeping things fresh by injecting his personality and emotional content to each track on the record.
The album begins with “Falling in Love,” which is built off an infectious Latin groove that features a nice blend between the drums, acoustic guitar and piano. This strong foundation provides the right cushion for Batakin’s vocals which float over the rhythmic pulse, working its way between the rhythm when necessary, and landing on strong beats when the time is right to emphasize a word or melody note. The song will bring to mind the work of Iglesias, both Julio and Enrique, leaning more towards the classic sounds of the father rather than the more modern, commercialized mixes that Enrique prefers. By embracing his influences, instead of trying to ignore them, Batakin draws his listeners into his music with a sense of the familiar that is a welcome touch to the songs, including this one. The key to Batakin’s success is the slight twists and turns that he uses, especially in the melody lines that provide the added sense of fresh material that really raises the album out of the old and into the new.
Batakin digs into a nice waltz groove for the album’s title track, which features a catchy, arpeggiated acoustic-guitar phrase that not only settles the time, but also provides a nice harmonic and melodic backing to the vocal line as it weaves its way in and out of the accompaniment. As well, the vocalist gives a tip of his hat to famed American singer and songwriter James Taylor with the song “Forever in Your Arms.” The vocals are not so much in Taylor’s vein, but the acoustic guitar intro, the way the song builds and the harmonic movements are all familiar territory for fans of the great singer and guitarist. Again, this is another example of Batakin allowing past masters to breathe through his writing, while twisting things enough to make it a worthwhile listening experience.
One of the most interesting tracks on the record is “Ten Yellow Roses.” The string melodies in the background, connection between the acoustic guitar and piano, and the spoken/sung melody line all come together to provide an enjoyable and entertaining listen. There are also some unexpected harmonic changes that Batakin sneaks in, keeping things interesting and preventing the song from becoming too reliant on the melodic content for interest. Great songs need both a strong melodic hook as well as harmonic surprises to keep the listener glued to their speakers, Batakin has brought both of those elements to this song, and the result is one of the strongest tracks on the record.
Overall, Somewhere in Time is a strong effort from Batakin, one that fits firmly in the Adult Contemporary genre, without sounding too bland or clichéd in the process. Using a mixture of familiar sounds and personalized melodic and harmonic ideas allow Batakin to reach out to an audience that has expectations from their listening experience, while giving them a fresh take at the same time.
Review by Matthew Warnock (Illinois, USA)
Dr. Matt Warnock is a highly experienced music journalist, educator and performer who has written books for Hal Leonard and Mel Bay, as well as hundreds of articles for Just Jazz Guitar Magazine, All About Jazz.com and Modern Guitar Magazine. Currently, he is Editor in Chief for Guitar International Magazine where, beyond his editorial duties, he has interviewed some of the biggest names in the business including Robby Krieger, Ace Frehley, Brian Aubert , George Benson and John Pizzarelli. Matt is also Director of Guitar Studies at Western Illinois University and the Executive Director of the WIU Guitar Festival.
There is certainly something to be said of European sophistication. It’s something that most of us on the western edge of the pond never quite caught on to, but to which many of our rich, famous and elite constantly aspire. Singer/songwriter Arthur Batakin carries that sophistication and charm with him like a lucky pendant, writing and performing love ballads in the classic tradition of Julio Iglesias, with the easy touch of James Taylor. Perhaps the most surprising thing in all of this is that Batakin himself is not from Europe. Living in Australia, Batakin brings an old world sensibility back to where it belongs: classic love ballads the way they used to make ‘em. Batakin’s album, Somewhere In Time, is a ten-song cycle exploring depths of passion and despair wrapped up in the world’s most famous four letter word.
Batakin shows a wonderful sense of composition on Somewhere In Time, constructing melodies andarrangements that are at the very least solid and occasionally blooming towards magical. He shows an ability to create tension and resolution in his songwriting that are quite natural and beautiful.
Review by Wildy Haskell (New York, USA)
Wildy Haskell is the writer/editor of Wildy’s World.