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Le Sensazioni - Doctor Faust Suite CD (album) cover

DOCTOR FAUST SUITE

Le Sensazioni

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.00 | 1 ratings

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Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
3 stars Commissioned to write a musical accompaniment to Italian artist Dario Serra's theatre work, the short lived Italian band `La Sensazioni' released this wonderful progressive album that has much in common with many of the best RPI bands from the 70's, despite emerging in 1981. Near gothic classical drama, pompous and grand vocals, searing violin and an inventive, dazzling use of piano, organ and keyboards are all accounted for here, so it can easily be placed alongside endless other memorable Italian progressive albums. In the end, the band were approached to provide a full album, but with only a 15 day turnaround, the rest of the album was padded out with less ambitious pop music that has dated a little, but can still be appreciated by more generous and forgiving listeners.

But this one is all about the first glorious 18 minute work. You won't get a better or more grand extended progressive piece that side A's `Doctor Faust Suite'. Everything you could want in a sophisticated RPI album is here. Opening with a very intimidating whirlwind of drum rolls, cold electronic effects and heavy bass, the dark eerie drama unfolds with weeping violin and creeping piano. It soon starts darting back and forth between beautiful pristine romantic passages and sinister, unnerving moments. Melodic and epic Camel-sounding guitar journeys, oceans of constant floating layers of synth, dazzling Mini-Moog runs, even some oddly Zeuhl-like aggressive bass playing here and there! There's also room for some blistering jazz-fusion explosions over nimble piano and haunting passionate Italian male and female vocals full of longing.

The second side is a different matter altogether, mostly being more commercial and accessible with dated late 70's dance elements, a very different sound to the classy first side. That's not to say it's bad, though. Besides, I feel once you spend ages devouring complicated progressive rock music, you really start to appreciate a good well-written pop song even more! `Sensazioni Noi' is an upbeat and groovy disco dance floor stomper with punchy bass, swirling Mini-Moog fills, stomping drums and funky guitar. Some will really despise this piece, I think it's short enough to be forgivable - damn catchy too, with a good mix of male and female vocals. `Lenta Un'Idea' is also slightly disco/funk based, this sprightly mix of a dance/pop with proggy moments wouldn't have sounded out of place on an Alan Parsons Project album. `Giochi D'Eta' is a romantic upbeat ballad with group lovely harmonies and is just an exquisite pop song. But far and away the best piece on Side B is `Riflessioni D'Auttuno', a tasteful and stirring instrumental full of evocative violin, gentle washes of pleasant synths, clean guitar soloing and wordless sighed harmonies. It's a really beautiful piece, and stands out most amongst the poppier stuff on this side.

So depending on your tolerance and patience, you'll either get one terrific side of music and one unlistenable cheesy poppy mess, or an all-around wonderful album that offers a superb Italian progressive piece with some breezy and well played pop. I think the album as a whole is very impressive, but maybe it's better to think of the second side as mere bonus tracks after the knockout opening. Either way, this little 33 minute gem is overdue a reissue, so it can begin to be truly appreciated.

Three and a half stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 3/5 |

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