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Sensations' Fix - Portable Madness CD (album) cover


Sensations' Fix


Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.95 | 67 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars What an amazing album this is! This has really grown on me! This was their second album (actually third, if you include their self-entitled album which was released only as a promo). I remembered all those years ago buying a copy of "Fragments of Light" being completely blown away with it. Then some years later bought Finest Finger and wasn't quite as impressed ("Where did the synthesizers go?" was what I was thinking), but at least it was still a good album. Now I got "Portable Madness", an album just begging for a CD reissue (Mellow Records should've reissued this like they did "Fragments of Light"). Luckily I still collect vinyl. Anyway, while "Fragments of Light" sounded more like a Franco Falsini project with only bassist Richard Ursillo and drummer Keith Edwards (an American, that explains his very Anglo name) contributing the occasional cut, "Portable Madness" was a full band cooperation, giving each three of the musicians more fair play. The music is definately more ambitious and complex than before. The music is now all-instrumental (no more hearing Franco Falsini screech out of tune like he did on "Do You Love Me?" from "Fragments of Light", thankfully!). Rather than actual separate cuts like on "Fragments of Light", the music all segues together creating a continuous flow. Here are the songs:

"Smooth and Round": a cool piece dominated by Richard Ursillo's bass and Franco Falsini's Eminent (a string organ that sounds like a string synth). His guitar also pops up from time to time.

"Fullglast": Franco's guitar is his showcase here, there's even that one passage that sounds almost bluesy. The end part is where the synthesizers (Moog, Eminent) come in to play.

"Phase One and Phase Two": Guitar showcase, with Eminent popping up. I just love that phasing near the end! Maybe that's why the word "Phase" is used in this piece.

"Underwater": One of the more experimental pieces here, a spacy theme played on Eminent gets played repeatedly, then they go in to something more atmospheric (with again, the Eminent dominating), before suddenly you hear the theme of "Smooth and Round", played in reverse.

"The Next Place of Nobody": A synth experiment that's most like what's found on "Fragments of Light".

"Pasty Day Resistance": I just love how the music starts picking up more and more, as it gets more and more intense. I especially like the bass work as it reaches its most intense. I doubt SENSATIONS' FIX ever created anything as intense as this! Guitar, Eminent, and Moog all get their turn to shine.

"Leave My Chemistry Alone": Well, something sounds a bit familiar with this! Having been familiar with "Finest Finger" for much longer than "Portable Madness", it turns out that the title track to "Finest Finger" was nothing more than "Leave My Chemistry Alone" with vocals added on. The original proves how effective it is without the vocals.

"Strange About the Hands": Again, re-recorded with vocals on "Finest Finger" as "Strange About Your Hands". This original has synthesizers, and has more going on. I just love how this piece then segues in to "With Relative Jump Into Water", which is a very peaceful and relaxing electronic piece, to calm you down after all you faced on this album. Here it's mainly Franco's Eminent droning the whole time, with his Moog popping up. This is one piece I wished was much longer.

Without a doubt "Portable Madness" is the most challenging album SENSATIONS' FIX put out, it's also one of their best as well. While newcomers should start with "Fragments of Light" (easier to get in to, but just as mindblowing), for those wanting something more challenging, go for this album!

Proghead | 5/5 |


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