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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

News: Sensations' Fix to release a 2 CD archival album

Thanks to a note from Wayside Steve on Progressive Ears, we learned that Sensations' Fix plans on issuing a 2 CD set called "Music is Painting in the Air". The release date is set for September 24th.

Here's the press release: "Music Is Painting In the Air is a collection of new mixes and unheard music from Sensations' Fix's prolific output between 1974 and 1977. Revered as one of the great articulations of progressive music, Music Is Painting In the Air offers guide posts to those familiar with Sensations' Fix's amorphous catalog and an approachable primer to those just journeying on the sensational trip.

The story of Sensations' Fix begins - and never quite ends - with Franco Falsini. Born in Florence, Italy in 1948, Falsini became a teenage rock 'n' roll convert through a steady supply of 45s sent home by his London-based sister. Following his sister's footsteps to swinging 60s London, Falsini put his love of music into practice, fronting a space blues trio that riffed its way from the UK back to Italy in a Ford Transit.

Falsini became smitten by Vinnie Sherman, an American woman working as a waitress at a nightclub in Florence where Falsini was holding down a residency. The newlywed lovers made their way to Alexandria, Virginia in the summer of 1969. Arriving on August 15th, the first day of Woodstock, a spirit of freedom filled Falsini and fueled his creative proclivity.

Falsini blazed a trail for home recording that has impressed upon inward resourcing and reflecting musicians and DIY enthusiasts in the decades since. A technology stalwart, Falsini employed a floor model MiniMoog and a tricked-out Teac 4-track machine to transform the Virginia basement of the house shared with Sherman into a cosmic conduit and launch pad for Sensations' Fix.

The reach for space from a personal place is nowhere more apparent than on Fragments of Light, early basement recordings solicited by Falsini as deal demos and surprisingly flipped into the first of six Sensations' Fix albums released over the next five years. The up-close fidelity of Fragments - coupled with Falsini's emotive guitar leads and sparse, sentimental vocals - creates a private quality that separates the album from other extravagant progressive rock productions contemporary to its 1974 release.

Relocating back to Italy on the heels of Fragments' release, Falsini, alongside drummer Keith Edwards and bassist Richard Ursillo (both American expats), charged through another two Sensations' Fix albums, Portable Madness in 1974 and Finest Finger in 1976, and a stunning solo album Cold Nose (Naso Fredo) in 1975. Without marketing or tour support to expose Sensations' Fix to a wider European audience, Falsini and his band of psychedelic renegades left Italy for the golden shores of California and their possible salvation. In 1977, Sensations' Fix released Vision's Fugitive on an independent label and fulfilled their major label obligation shortly after with Boxes Paradise.

Falsini spent the next couple decades between New York City and Paris, creatively contentedly creating above par electro-pop (The Antennas) before returning to Florence to launch the Interactive Test dance music label. Meanwhile, the legend of Sensations' Fix grew. On his 2002 album, The Private Press, DJ Shadow sampled from two Sensations' Fix songs. More recently, Sonic Youth curated a career retrospective titled Sensational Fix at Life Gallery in Saint-Nazaire France.

For Music is Painting in the Air, Falsini and his son Jeyon set forth on a year-long voyage to restore and revisit the original Sensations' Fix analog tapes. Honoring Falsini's tradition of autonomy, this collection, as with the majority of the Sensations' Fix catalog, was mixed solely by Falsini. The sequence is chronologically defiant, encouraging the listener to free associate the recurring themes' origins and immerse in the body of music as its own universe.

Once this celestial body suit is occupied, it becomes apparent why the forward-thinking yet emotionally-accessible quality of Sensations' Fix's music is still finding the universal audience for which its intended. Falsini's disregard for time and insistence on reinvention provides an infinite reach for his music. The end-goal was seemingly unmarketable by the industry then, but perfectly harmonious with a culture constantly evolving now.

Sensations' Fix's Music is Painting in the Air is released September 24th, 2012 on 2xLP, 2xCD, and digital formats. Physical formats come housed in elaborate packaging, including a unique reverse bound record jacket and full color liner notes by Franco Falsini and Joshua da Costa."

A contributor to the site further took a stab at the source of the tracks:

"Just based on song titles, it looks like up to 40 minutes of this material was previously unreleased. But of course, they might have just edited and renamed material from the old albums.

Disc 1

01. Barnhause Effect (4:46) (presumably from "Vision's Fugitives" album)
02. Cold Nose Part 3, 4th Movement (3:23) (presumably from "Cold Nose" album)
03. Leave My Chemistry (3:37) (presumably from "Portable Madness" album)
04. Acudreaming (3:02)
05. Grow On You (4:17) (presumably from "Vision's Fugitives" album)
06. Scraping Delay (1:10)
07. Warped Notions Of A Practical Joke (Instrumental) (1:37) (presumably from "Vision's Fugitives" album)
08. Dark Side of Religion (3:28)
09. Cosmic Saudade (4:39)
10. Cold Nose Part 3, Movement 2 (1:29) (presumably from "Cold Nose" album)
11. Fragments of Light (3:07) (presumably from "Fragments of Light" album)
12. Into The Memory (3:11) (presumably from "Finest Finger" album)
13. Cold Nose Part 3, Movement 5 (1:01) (presumably from "Cold Nose" album)
14. C'e Nessuno (4:02)
15. Map (4:57) (presumably from "Finest Finger" album)
16. Moving Particles (2:24)

Disc 2

01. Cold Nose Part 3, Movement 3 (0:42) (presumably from "Cold Nose" album)
02. Music Is Painting (2:55) (presumably an edit of the track from "Fragments of Light" album)
03. Left Side Of Green (4:12) (presumably from "Finest Finger" album)
04. Chelsea Hotel (Room 625)(2:07) (presumably from "Vision's Fugitives" album)
05. Fix A Water Fountain (Instrumental) (2:31) (presumably from "Vision's Fugitives" album)
06. Leave My Chemistry (3:36)
07. Overflowing Ashtrays (1:13) (presumably from "Vision's Fugitives" album)
08. Strangelands (1:54)
09. Cold Nose Story (4:03) (presumably from "Cold Nose" album)
10. Slow Motion Movie (1:59)
11. Fortune Teller (1:43) (presumably from "Vision's Fugitives" album)
12. Fortune Teller Coda (2:43) (presumably from "Vision's Fugitives" album)
13. Crossing Berlin (5:14)
14. Darkside 1 & 3 (3:06)
15. Darkside 2 (3:30) "

Looks interesting to me!

I don't have a cover for this one yet.

Monday, June 25, 2012

News: Made in Germany to reissue Lutz Rahn's (Novalis) solo album

Saw this late last week, and meant to give it some air time. Made in Germany continues to release some interesting obscure material from Germany. I haven't personally heard this album, but I've been told it's a pretty decent electronic styled release. Love the cover!

Also look for the 1980 album by Novalis called "Augenblicke" as well as the 1984 album "Bumarang", both of which are well past their shelf date as far as I'm concerned, though I know a few progressive rock fans that enjoy these - so good news if you're a fan!

The label says this about "Solo Trip":

"By the end of the seventies the band Novalis from Hamburg had to cope with a lot of stress including their charismatic Austrian singer Fred Mühlböck. Creatively as well as commercially the band had reached the height of their career. In 1978, their masterpiece Vielleicht bist du ein Clown? had been released, one year later saw the release of their first and only superb concept album Flossenengel.

At the same time Novalis' keyboardist Lutz Rahn took a Solo Trip (thus title of the longplayer). The album contains elements of classic ambient piano music, vibrant organ loops and idyllic electronic soundscapes. Many a follower of the band was wondering and even feared if this solo trip of the introvert and innovative keyboard virtuoso could be seen as an act to free himself from the shackles of his native band. Even today Rahn is objecting vigorously to this thought by assessing 'This 'coup' solely resulted from my musical curiosity. When we founded Novalis in 1971, my main instrument was the Hammond organ. I wanted to use most of the latest electronic musical instruments that been had developed such as sequencers. These numerous new possibilities had an impact on my song writing and arrangements.' And he adds: 'In the course of events I have developed a certain taste for musical experiments. Aside from working with Novalis I was tempted to pursuit other paths. During these trips I had collected quite a bit of material - but not with the purpose to create a solo album from that. Most of the tracks emerged even earlier, even years before, and not shortly before the release of Solo Trip.'

And on a Solo Trip he went indeed. Except drummer and personal friend Helge Tillman it was Lutz who played all instruments. The fact that there are no vocals on the album does not at all decrease the dynamics and extraordinary versatility of the eight tracks. 'Besides, I am a lousy singer. That's why I left it at that,' Rahn explains with the stoical humour being typical for the North of Germany.

According to Lutz there is no concept behind Solo Trip. 'It is simply a selection of instrumental ideas and thoughts, ideas exciting to me. What's more, I wanted to experiment with my electronic instruments and devices, which used to be state-of-the-art, without having to compromise with some other band members,' he confirms. Solo Trip won high praise, especially from pro keyboardists who compared the production to early works of French sound magician Jean-Michel Jarre or those of the Japanese band Far East Family headed by the most talented keyboard sorcerer Kitaro.

Despite rave reviews Solo Trip remained Lutz Rahn's only solo album. 'I never really intended to be a solo artist,' he explains. 'I was far too dedicated to the band and happy with it. My picture on the album wearing a clown mask which I was able to hide behind certainly summed up a principle of mine.' "

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

News: Franck Dervieux to be reissued by ProgQuebec!

In news we've been waiting to see for some time, ProgQuebec has announced their CD reissue of Franck Dervieux's marvelous 1972 opus "Dimension M". PQ has already reissued most, if not all, the albums associated with Dervieux (Contraction, VEBB, Toubabou, and various solo acts). This is an essential early progressive rock work. One of our Priority 2's, but very close to a priority 1. I'll be a first day buyer.

Here's our original entry.

Great news here!

Monday, June 18, 2012

News: Poliphony to be reissued by Audio Archives

The always interesting Audio Archives has announced their intention to reissue the very rare film library album by Poliphony. This is a surprise choice, but a very welcome one. Poliphony is a fine addition to the CD collection and is one of our Priority 3's.

Here's our original entry for Poliphony, an album I first heard at Heavyrock's place a few years ago.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

News: Serge Bringolf Strave's "Vision" to be reissued soon!

A couple of years ago we first reported this album was to reissued along with Noa. The Noa did get released, but this one was tabled. Until now. Soleil Zeuhl will once again be behind this release, as well as a simultaneous release in Japan from Belle Antique in the mini-LP format. Look for a late July release date. Good news all around.

Monday, June 11, 2012

News: Garden of Delights to release live East of Eden show

I first reported on this title back on April 14th, but we now have a cover and more info, so I'm moving it forward to today.

Continuing with their "Essen" series, Garden of Delights, on their Thors Hammer sub-label, will release a 1970 concert from East of Eden. Like the May Blitz show from this series (which I still haven't heard), I would imagine East of Eden would be a very creative band in live form. For my money, "Mercator Projected" is one of the greatest albums of the 1960's. How's that for a bold statement? But I'm serious here. And 1970's "Snafu" is also fantastic. I'm most interested in how this will turn out.

Further notes on this release: "East of Eden from Bristol in England played elaborate progressive rock with saxophone, violin, and flute. Their only hit, “Jig-a-jig”, ist not typical for their music. The band can look back on a history of eleven long-players, not counted the many compilations. On Thursday, 22nd October 1970, the group performed in the Gruga hall at the third Essen Pop & Blues Festival. The event was recorded semi-professionally by the promoters. The recordings were mastered now in a first-class sound studio with great effort and care. The sound, however, is naturally not as good as that of the studio LPs. The 32-page booklet contains a long band history in German and English, a detailed discography, numerous cover repros as well as a personal retrospective report by Dave Arbus. A must for collectors. It is the first legitimate release of an East of Eden live recording and comes both as CD and as LP."

Gnosis Mike says: "Tom, I think I have a video from East of Eden in 1970 and it's definitely third album mode. I'm not sure how much they toured on Snafu or if they just rejiggered the line up, but there's very little early East of Eden in live form. Unfortunately cuz I'm with ya on the first two."

I should also point out for you vinyl collectors out there, that GoD will also release many of their CDs on LP (Vita Nova, Tyburn Tall, Sunbirds, Sub, Siddhartha, Lightshine, Gila-Bury My Heart). None of them caught my eye personally (you can read about my criteria for buying LP reissues here), but since vinyl is all the rage at the moment, I suspect many will rejoice. I probably would have gone for the Sunbirds, but I already own the original LP of that one. I'm still hoping they'll release the CD of Sunbirds' Zagara this year!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Mandragora, England

Mandragora - Somethink Missing. 1985 private (cassette).
Mandragora - Over the Moon. 1989 private.

Here's a band I've been sitting on for some time. As some of you will recall from last year, we featured many groups from the 1980s UK festival scene. Mandragora has always been one of my favorite acts from that scene, and now I have a chance to report on one of their two releases that are not on CD (courtesy of Midwest Mike). Starting with "Head First" (1991), Mandragora's albums were initially released on CD, and I own them all.

On "Over the Moon", Mandragora display their more song-oriented roots, with vocal-laden tracks and clear nods to hard rock, progressive rock and space rock. Plenty of good riffs (yea, metal heads, riffs) encased in synthesizer waves. What any self-respecting Hawkwind fan would want to hear. Mandragora would become far more diverse after this release, focusing more on their Ozric Tentacles inspired space rock sound.

I just bought a copy of the LP for myself at a decent price. There's a few out there for sale, if you are so inclined.

As of this writing, I have yet to hear the debut cassette.

Priority: 3