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Le Sensazioni biography
LE SENSAZIONI was a short-lived five-piece outfit that formed in Padua in 1978. Under the artistic direction of bassist Mauro Moschin they recorded and released their only album ''Doctor Faust Suite'' in 1981 before disbanding some time later. There's a marked dichotomy between prog rock and pop music on the two sides of the LP but the story behind the album's creation helps to explain the disparity in musical styles.

The album was dedicated to Italian painter Dario Serra; in fact, the organisers of an exhibition devoted to the artist's work asked LE SENSAZIONI to provide programme music to accompany the event. Serra had previously set up a theatre company and among his productions were several operas/musical theatres using marionettes. He based one of these puppet theatres on the tragicomedy ''The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus'' by Christopher Marlowe (a contemporary of Shakespeare) hence the reason for the Faust-inspired album by LE SENSAZIONI.

The exhibition organisers required a lengthy piece, dark in mood to reflect the subject matter of necromancy, Faust's pact with Lucifer and his final damnation. The end result is the album's symphonic title-suite, a mainly instrumental work where the story of magic and apparitions unfolds through a blending of serious and light moods dominated by keyboards and Margherita Garagnini's wavering violin lines.

The band was mainly influenced by the likes of PFM and BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO but this piece shows they had a genuine talent for dark progressive. The suite proved so successful that the band was offered the chance to record a full album but the producers wanted the recording completed within fifteen days and there was an additional requirement for it to have commercial appeal. As a consequence the second side is marred by the inclusion of several short pop tracks.

LE SENSAZIONI promoted the album through radio interviews and appearances on primetime television. They also started work on new songs in the prog rock vein and conducted a series of concerts with the new material, but subsequently split up. This band fits well into the context of the second wave of RPI and ''Doctor Faust Suite'' is another lost gem from the bottomless barrel of Italian prog, one that will hopefully see a CD reissue.

- seventhsojourn

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3.12 | 6 ratings
Doctor Faust Suite

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Showing last 10 reviews only
 Doctor Faust Suite by SENSAZIONI, LE album cover Studio Album, 1981
3.12 | 6 ratings

Doctor Faust Suite
Le Sensazioni Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by 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.

Thanks to seventhsojourn for the artist addition.

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