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Sensations' Fix - Finest Finger CD (album) cover


Sensations' Fix


Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.78 | 39 ratings

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4 stars Guitarist Franco Falsini and his band Sensations' Fix released only a handful of LPs in their prime, which would seem to mark them as something less than a success story but more than a cult act. Things might have been different if Falsini had showed more interest in making money instead of music. But that was never his aim, and his lifelong indifference to anything outside the actual music has kept it fresh, if undeservedly neglected.

The band's third album, from 1976, is more or less typical of the distinctive Fix style: economical synth and guitar explorations, on a tighter leash than most Space Rock. The amateur home production is a handicap, and demands a little forbearance when heard today. Richard Ursillo's bass guitar is mixed too low, and the ace drumming of Keith Edwards (another American expat, outnumbering the locals in a supposedly Italian group) is often inaudible.

An optimist might say the inadequate sound quality helped to keep the music safely insulated from the multi-track excesses of the era. In my own experience, this and other Sensations' Fix albums enjoyed complete immunity from the irrational Post-Punk vinyl purges that decimated my once-proud Progressive Rock library, precisely because of that diamond-in-the-rough quality. Despite their cosmic attitude the Fix was a garage band at heart, and needs to be approached as such.

So ignore the muddy sound, and the glossy ineptitude of the front cover art. The gritty photograph inside the original gatefold sleeve, showing the quartet at work in their makeshift basement studio outside Florence, Italy, is a more honest representation of their music: the dystopian energy of the song "Boat of Madness"; the sci-fi trippiness of the title track; the ecstatic "Map".

And above all, the insinuating "Strange About Your Hands": a Fix classic, revamped (with lyrics) from an earlier instrumental, business as usual for the parsimonious Falsini. The guitarist would frequently recycle the same music under different titles, mostly to confound the bean-counters at Polydor Records, who weren't really listening anyway. At one point the band even released an entire album outside Falsini's contract with Polydor ("Vision's Fugitives", an apt title), upsetting their paymasters and further confusing their recorded legacy.

Robert Fripp, an acknowledged hero to Falsini, once wrote: "The business of a musician is music. The business of a professional musician is business." That was Sensations' Fix: a group straddling the hard line separating boundless amateurs from reluctant professionals.

Three strong stars for this effort, with another added for taking the high road to obscurity.

Neu!mann | 4/5 |


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