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Sensations' Fix - Portable Madness  CD (album) cover

PORTABLE MADNESS

Sensations' Fix

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.98 | 55 ratings

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Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars Italy's `Sensations' Fix' play on `Portable Madness' a hypnotic and dreamy blend of murky instrumental space rock that shares many similarities to several German artists such as Tangerine Dream, Eloy and the Ash Ra/Manuel Gottsching projects, as well as much of the Krautrock sound in general. Both sides of the album form a continuous piece of music that ebbs and flows with alien atmosphere and deep space mystery. It's an album you can easily drift off to, some parts float along in blissful serenity, others have an uneasy menace and tension.

Endless thick synths/keyboards cover the entire album, sometimes creating a disorientating Tangerine Dream-like electronic mood with repetitive and hypnotic sounds, other times dancing uptempo runs and grand themes. The chunky bass is not far from the classic 70's Eloy, even Hawkwind in a few brief moments. It punches through the hazy fog of the album all the time, mixed so loud and prominent, quite distorted and imposing. It brings a grooving quality to even the more aimless and plodding parts of the album, keeping it grounded and constantly exciting. The electric guitars swap from scuzzy dirty solos to chugging harder riffs, with occasional majestic themes and stoned soloing. The drumming/percussion leaves a huge impression on the album, one minute it's a rumbling avalanche of power, a maddening and aggressive rumble that bears down on the listener, the next it's got an almost tribal percussion sound, constantly building in urgency and drama.

There's several particular standout moments amongst the whole intoxicating work. Listen for the slightly off sounding guitar that creates a tense and disorientating mood in `Fullglast'! The dark `Leave My Chemistry Alone' has twin guitars playing alternate melodies, with thick glorious synths washing crystalline waves around the listener. It then shifts to haunted sinister stabbing keys like a nightmare before an uplifting Eloy-like theme in the last 30 seconds.

The final section `Relative Jump Into Water' is an unnerving droning piece with gentle wailing lonely synths over the top that's very draining and quietly reflective, a somber way to finish the album. Some people find electronic-based music like this piece totally empty and devoid of life, I find it truly human and full of emotion.

I think there's one or two spots on the album where the music is broken up with an out-of-place or abrupt transition that doesn't entirely work, but these are only brief, and the rest of the music is so consistently good. I much prefer this album to the previous `Fragments of Light', although I think I was a little too harsh in dismissing that one by paying too much attention to the vocals I disliked so much - now I'll have to go and dig that off the shelf again!

`Portable Madness' is a truly immersive space-rock experience, a beautiful, floating, repetitive, haunting and maddening album, sounding just as mind-blowing, inventive and emotional now almost 40 years after it's release. Highly recommended.

Four and a half stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |

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