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Supersister - Iskander CD (album) cover




Canterbury Scene

3.55 | 129 ratings

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5 stars It is said usually that "Iskander" is less listenable album of Supersister than early albums of this band. As though, "Iskander" is "avant-garde". I do not think so. Yes, this album is more difficult for perception and understanding. Yes, this album is closer to "avant-prog" or "RIO" than early Supersister works ("Present from Nancy" and "To The Highest Bidder"). But the same situation took place with music of the other leading prog-bands of those years. "Tales From Topographic Oceans" is more "avant" than "The Yes Album"; "A Passion Play" is more "avant" than "Aqualung"; Crimson albums of 1973-74 are more "loading" than early albums; and so on. In other words, "Iskander" was natural, organic product of musical evolution of Supersister, and this evolution was, to some extent, similar to the evolution of some British prog-bands in this period. "Iskander" is the concept album which is devoted to Alexander the Great. Please do not forget that 1973 is the year of the prog concept albums. Music continuously develops, and this album is the most monolithic, coherent work by the band. Moreover, this development is symphonic by its nature. Therefore reviewed album is not "avant- garde" like Frank Zappa, Henry Cow or Soft Machine (although the general features can be found). Yes, we face with a lot of "avantish" dissonances, breaks and changes in tempos, rhythms and measures, but symphonic component matters. It is more symphonic music than works by any of Canterbury or RIO bands. Moreover, symphonic and avantprog elements are very closely interlinked (like in the best albums of Yes, King Crimson and Gentle Giant). Another important thing is the presence of Arabian "motives". Arabian elements in the progressive rock are the extroordinary rarity. Possibly, therefore many reviewers strongly emphasized such ethnic elements in the famous "Rajaz" album by Camel (1999). But 26 years before there was the album containing much more organic mix between European prog-rock (and also jazz) and Arabian music. "Iskander" is opened by brass wind solo which creates "Near-Eastern" mood from the beginning of the album. And further Arabian "motives" are intertwined with many themes and "pieces" of this album. It is almost impossible to mark out the best tracks. As I already noted, the album is very monolithic; it is breathtaking from the beginning till the end. But it is necessary to mention marvellous and wonderful melodies in "Roxane" and "Looking Back", and also really progressive development of themes in "Alexander" and "The Battle". "Iskander" is not only very good album which is both melodic and grooving. It is not only highly imaginative and very eccentric work. It is indeed innovative album which has surpassed time. Unfortunately, this absolute masterpiece is underestimated up to now. Nevertheless, "Iskander" album by Supersister is the Beautiful Brick in the Wall of the World Progressive Music which is important not less than "Larks' Tongues In Aspic", "In A Glass House", "Tales From Topographic Ocean", "A Passion Play", or the other famous Bricks. "Iskander" is a must know for any lover of prog.
felonafan | 5/5 |


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