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Canterbury Scene • Netherlands

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SUPERSISTER had a sound very much in the Canterbury scene, and if I had to compare them to another band it would with no doubt be CARAVAN. They blend their own Dutch ideals and a touch humor into a unique mixture of progressive rock. Plenty of flute or sax or both can be heard weaving in and out of the varied organ and piano. Influences from FRANK ZAPPA & THE MOTHERS OF INVENTION, some WIGWAM (lots of organ) and from THE SOFT MACHINE (especially from the time when THE SOFT MACHINE was a trio) can be heard.

"Present From Nancy" (1971) is a incredible debut-album featuring greats tracks, lots of flute and distorbed organ and a vocalist who sounds quite a bit like Richard SINCLAIR. "Present from Nancy" and "To the Highest Ridder" are generally the recommended starting places and work your way forward. One of the absolutely best groups from the Dutch progressive rock scene.

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SUPERSISTER discography

Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help to complete the discography and add albums

SUPERSISTER top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 170 ratings
Present From Nancy
4.22 | 191 ratings
To the Highest Bidder
3.91 | 96 ratings
Pudding En Gisteren
3.49 | 80 ratings
3.25 | 54 ratings
Spiral Staircase

SUPERSISTER Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.53 | 17 ratings
3.20 | 5 ratings
Long Live Supersister!

SUPERSISTER Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.14 | 9 ratings
Sweet OK Supersister

SUPERSISTER Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.70 | 15 ratings
Superstarshine vol. 3
3.00 | 1 ratings
Startrack Vol. 1
3.00 | 1 ratings
Iskander / Spiral Staircase
4.00 | 1 ratings
Present From Nancy / To The The Highest Bidder
4.00 | 1 ratings
Pudding En Gisteren / Superstarshine
2.65 | 8 ratings
m.a.n. (Memories Are New)
3.66 | 5 ratings
Universal Masters Collection
4.00 | 1 ratings
Dreaming Wheelwhile

SUPERSISTER Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.50 | 2 ratings
Fancy Nancy
3.00 | 2 ratings
No Tree Will Grow
3.00 | 2 ratings
A Girl Named You


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Present From Nancy by SUPERSISTER album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.00 | 170 ratings

Present From Nancy
Supersister Canterbury Scene

Review by ALotOfBottle

4 stars Despite a relative success of Soft Machine's and Caravan's debut and sophomore albums, the Canterbury scene bands didn't get a lot of attention in the United Kingdom. They soon found, though, a great following in France, Belgium and the Netherlands. The Netherlands in particular was a vibrant place at that time - a perfect place for a young, inspired musician. A young conservatory student, who specialized in keyboard instruments Robert Jan Stips teamed up with a bass player Ron van Eck, a vocalist and a flautist Sacha van Geest and a drummer Marco Vrolijk. That's how Supersister came to life. Soon after releasing a single in 1970, the band was offered to play Kralingen Music Festival (also known as "the Dutch Woodstock") alongside acts such as Jimi Hendrix Experience, Jefferson Airplane, Caravan, Soft Machine, The Byrds, Mungo Jerry, Fairport Convention and Stone The Crows, just to name a few. With plenty of material, they decided to release their debut album Present From Nancy.

Supersister's sound is to a very high degree shaped by Canterbury scene bands such as Soft Machine, Caravan or Delivery. Even a bit of Egg influence is to be heard. However, their music goes beyond just these influences, it's notably different. Without the goofiness of Caravan and improvisational factor of Soft Machine, the group has a distinct sound only of their own. The psychedelic aroma is almost entirely absent. Furthermore, the band incorporates a flute, making a particularly good use of the instrument on smooth dreamy passages. Machine-like fuzz organ, reminiscent of Egg and Emerson Lake & Palmer is commonly used, giving this organ-driven quartet a welcome variety from lush, well-known Hammond organ sounds. A fuzz bass tone as used by Hugh Hopper is also present. Similarly to their Canterbury contemporaries, Supersister utilizes odd time signatures. As I mentioned, improvisation and jams do not play an exceedingly important role in their music, as opposed to Soft Machine.

Present From Nancy consists of 10 tracks, some of which are linked together. What is worth attention is that all of the tracks are different from one another. A good part of them is instrumental, only some include vocals, which remind a bit of Richard Sinclair's voice. The title track, "Present From Nancy" presents the jazzy, Soft Machine-inspired style, "Memories Are New" and "11-8" are kept in odd time signatures, sharing similarities with some of Egg's pieces, "Dreaming Wheelwhile" has a dreamy ambience to it, while "Corporation Combo Boys" features harmony vocals, in a similar vein to Gentle Giant. "Eight Miles High" is a 25-second tune with a lyrical allusion to "Summertime", a widely known jazz standard. "Metamorphosis" is probably the most experimental of all, based on a rapid "Sabre Dance"-like tempo. Together, the pieces create a beautifully twisted whole, so much that none of the tracks could justifiably be regarded as a "highlight" of the album.

Although I consider myself a Canterbury scene fan, I often find many bands' material a bit sterile and therefore uninteresting. That is definitely not the case with Supersister's debut album Present From Nancy. For a debut album, this is a very solid and consistent effort, which does not show musical indecision. Highly eclectic and more importantly unique, this is an essential album of the sub-genre, capturing the true spirit of Canterbury scene's early days. A one-of-a-kind work, recommended! 4.5 stars!

 Pudding En Gisteren by SUPERSISTER album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.91 | 96 ratings

Pudding En Gisteren
Supersister Canterbury Scene

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Jazz-Rock/Fusion/Canterbury Team

5 stars The original lineup of this band put together three albums in rapid fire succession: 1971-72 before losing a few members (one of which was leader, keyboard player, and producer Robert Jan Stips--who would go on to join Golden Earring through their monster hit album, Moontan). This is the third of that trilogy. The band has grown. Their experimental nature has been nurtured further but they are also putting here on display a greater maturity in their lyrical content and a greater command and confidence in the polishing department and recording/engineering departments. As I listen to Pudding en Gisteren I find myself wishing that their first two albums were rehearsed, recorded and produced as well as this one. The opening song, "Radio" (4:00) is full of silliness--not the least of which is the end segment with "radio narrator" speaking over the band's appropriate "soundtrack" music. It's an okay song, despite its entertainment value. (7/10)

The second song, "Supersisteretsisrepus" (0:16) is one of those silly throw-away songs so common to early (pre- paralysis) Robert Wyatt project albums--this one a keyboard solo.

Song 3, "Psychopath" (3:58) is a tongue-in-cheek cabaret-like song in the Monty Python Life of Brian vein. Humorous, intelligent lyrics sung/spoken over piano and then piano and harpsichord duet in the middle section and then joined by Mellotron strings for the final third. (8/10)

4. "Judy Goes on Holiday" (12:38) is the epic that completes Side 1 of the album. It opens with a very catchy synthesizer/flute riff, which is then periodically repeated throughout the song in order to bring the band back to center before venturing off into some of the more EGG-heavy or CAMEL-light passages that make up the body of the song. I find the mix of this song interesting for the consistent "compartmentalization" of each of the individual performers--keys in left, bass center up front, drums center in back, flute center-right and guitars full right. An odd slow, spacious section begins in the fifth minute that allows the band some percussive playfulness. Then a slow keyboard and flute duet begins mid-song that is absolutely gorgeous--very much in a CAMEL/Latimer- Bardens or Hackett-Hackett way. Like Satie "Gymnopedia," I could listen to this forever. The song eventually returns to the opening riff and pacing. (9/10)

5. Side 2 is filled with one song, one epic--one of the finest epics Canterbury music has to offer, the title song "... (Music for Ballet)" (21:00). From the opening riff and its variations which fill the first two minutes, to the organ and flute interplay and rolling bass lines in the more varied tempos of the second movement, to the smooth, cool grooves and key sounds in the CAMEL-esque third movement, this is an absolute masterpiece of instrumental music. I do love the way Supersister can cough up so many catchy and memorable and fun melodic riffs. Each section/movement of this piece is grounded in at least one of them. There must be about 20 of them through the course of this song! I can often hear sections appropriate for ballet, as the title indicates, but not the majority--though there are a few themes that feel like variations on already-existing classic ballet themes. I mean, I know dancers can dance to just about anything, but as for your typical musical score intended specifically for ballet, I don't see this one as one of those. I'd like to see it staged as such. (10/10)

Definitely a weird and diverse album with questionable lows but with more solid, mature, and memorable highs-- namely the two epics; they are not to be missed. Accordingly, I think this album must claim its place among the pantheon of prog masterpieces.

 Iskander by SUPERSISTER album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.49 | 80 ratings

Supersister Canterbury Scene

Review by GruvanDahlman
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I do not know how many times I have started to Review this album, only to find myself failing to do so. Why is that, one might ask? I think that the main problem has been my ambivalence, not fully knowing how to rate it. Is it a four star album or isn't it? I think I have the answer now.

I am relatively new to Supersister. I have not spent years listening to them but I love Canterbury style progressive rock. It is marvellous. So, being a fan of prog I do love the idea of concept albums. Just imagine the grandeur of it all, giving musical wings to the epic story of Alexander the Great. The very idea gives me goose bumps. I dived into this album with every fibre of my inner being highly strung in anticipation. The resulting dive wasn't exactly what I had hoped for.

The opening trio of "Introduction", "Dareios - the emperor" and "Alexander" are by far the best tracks. What an opening! Eastern sounding (which is appropriate), heavy and fitting the theme. Beyond those tracks, however, I tend to get distracted all too easily. It all blends together and though enjoyable not very exciting. If I listen to any of the tracks I do not know why my complaints arise but when I listen to the album in it's entirity it is like eating ones way through a buffet. It's all very enjoyable at first but you do get filled up. And maybe that is the case here.

Obviously, the musicianship is excellent. There's not much to say about that. Supersister is/was a very talented band and created some great music but sorry to say, they did not manage to be up to par on this one.

I love this album, I do, but there's something missing. The theme is there, the ideas and the will. It is simply a question of not reaching the goal properly. Interesting and grandiose it remains simply good but by no means essential. Sorry.

 Present From Nancy by SUPERSISTER album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.00 | 170 ratings

Present From Nancy
Supersister Canterbury Scene

Review by Dobermensch
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Sporting a dreadfully embarrassing band photo, this looks like it could be the stuff of nightmares.

Pleasingly they use a variant of 'Futura Light' as the header font which is always pleasing to my eye and one typeface that name droppers 'Nurse With Wound' have used with dramatic effect for over 35 years.

Typography tomfoolery out of the way, I have to admit that this is an excellent album which detonates into life almost immediately. Full of quirky upbeat piano, fulsome flute and a drummer with his head firmly screwed on sideways.

Dutch Prog bands aren't exactly at the top of many lists but this just hits all the right buttons for me. It's very 'Canterbury' in sound and the 'Dutch' sounding 'Robert Jan Stips' has a set of vocal cords guaranteed to NOT upset English listeners despite singing in this language. The jammy gits somehow get away with it. I guess it's the soft affected vocal style. Considering this was recorded in in 1970 (The month in which I was born!), I have to say that it's stood the test of time very well. (Unlike me).

'Present from Nancy' is playful and experimental, with some passages sounding like Floyd's 'Ummagumma'. There's also quite a lot of use of that weird stylophone keyboard sound used to great effect by 'Egg' and 'Caravan'. There's a nice airy and light feel to most tunes where you feel you're floating on candy-floss clouds. At times it all gets quite manic as on 'Metamorphosis' which keeps things fresh and lively.

Of particular note is the wonderfully po-faced 'Mexico' which has a superb combination of keyboards and big stompin' drums which hammer away before those cool vocals and complex bass guitar lines frantically batter everything in sight like the big bully in the school playground.

Supersister comfortably deal with odd time signatures in a way that sounds completely effortless which is a commendable achievement in itself. It's also very surprising to hear such a well produced and clear recording from this era when many similar bands sounded like they were playing inside a closed cardboard box with the microphones on the outside.

'Present from Nancy' is their most energetic release. A cheery upbeat album, which at the same time displays a lot of originality and experimentation. It's made all the better by the distinct lack of guitar which was quite uncommon for Prog bands of this era.

 To the Highest Bidder by SUPERSISTER album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.22 | 191 ratings

To the Highest Bidder
Supersister Canterbury Scene

Review by friso
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Supersister - To the Highest Bidder (1971)

Among the earliest progressive rock groups we find the Zappa and Soft Machine influenced Dutch band Supersister, often listed under Canterbury because of its stylistic simularities. The band is however a conservatory band from The Hague. The young band, which recorded their debut in their teens (just look at the cover of 'Present from Nancy' 1970), led by keyboardist Robert Jan Stips has released three albums which I really like, this being the second and perhaps most advanced.

Supersister has a unique style you'll come to recognise instantly, without it being particularly consistent. Their finest compositions have the fast jazzy drums of Marco Vrolijk (often in odd time signatures), who always finds a way to get an exciting feel in the music. The keyboards and distorted organs often take the lead with fierce fast themes in which both darker and lighter atmospheres appear, yet whatever the emotional effect of the music is - it still sounds highly optimistic. Supersister is about joy. The Flute of Sacha van Geest takes another leading role during melodic pessages. Ron van Eck, on bassguitar, keeps up the pace and gets involved melodicly quite often. The dopey vocals of Robert Jan Stips add to the loose atmospheres and playfulness of the music.

'A Girl Named You' is classic up-tempo supersister; heavy, jazzy, rockin' and silly at times. 'No Tree will Grow' is symphonic ballad type track, quite unique in the Supersister discography. 'Energy (Out of the Future)' is a long track with all Supersister elements, perhaps a bit more avant-prog then most of their work. 'Higher' is a sympathetic, yet silly song. Just how a Supersister album should end.

Conclusion. This is among the best progressive rock records from seventies Netherlands and it should be listened to by everyone interested in Canterbury, eclectic prog and jazz-rock. Most of my favorite prog records are dead serious, but Supersister really managed to get the fun into prog. Four and a halve stars!

 To the Highest Bidder by SUPERSISTER album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.22 | 191 ratings

To the Highest Bidder
Supersister Canterbury Scene

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars It should be mentioned that Supersister were intelligent enough to throw some singles in the market in order to become more popular, despite their highly challenging sound.''She was naked'' predated the ''Present from Nancy'' album and ''A girl named you'' as well as ''No tree will grow'' were released for the promotion of the second album ''To the highe$t bidder''.Of course all were cut-out versions and the full album would reveal the dominant sound of the band.The sophomore work of Supersister came out in 1971, again on Polydor.

So, ''A girl named you'' is presented in its full 10-min. length here and what a tremendous opener this is.A tour-de-force of splendid, fast-paced rhythms, a cataclysm of keyboard and flute interplays with organ and harsichord in evidence, some Classical and symphonic undertones and extended psychedelic passages with mellow singing and superb background instrumental majesty.A fantastic cross between FINCH and CARAVAN.Same goes for ''No tree will grow'', the track is delivered here in its full 8-min. version, characterized by a dramatic intro on a disorted fuzz bass and piano, supported by the calm vocals of Robert Jan Stips and leading to a low-tempo instrumental section with an orchestral atmosphere, based on keyboards and piano, the ending frenetic rhythm is excellent to say the least.''Energy'' clocks at 15 minutes and is the band's most ambitious composition on the album.It reminds me a bit of FOCUS and NATIONAL HEALTH, it features a fairly instrumental sound with a great number of rhythm changes, shifting climates and instrumental intercations, passing from Classical interludes to jazzy territories, led by an omnipresent organ, electric piano and flute.Awesome professional music with a top composing level, extremely dense with only sporadic vocals, displaying both ethereal and dramatic moods.One of the highlights of the 70's.''Higher'' is a short, jazzy farewell with a tropical atmosphere, keyboards and flute combine for a warm and melodic mood in the vein of CARAVAN to calm things down, a beautiful piece and a great choice to say goodbye.

Do yourself a favor and grab this album, there are several reissues out and you will certainly regret it if you pass this one by.A band ahead of its age, this is superb Prog Fusion with Canterbury splashes, almost perfect from the first to the very last note.A masterpiece of Prog music and of course an extremely highly recommended effort...4.5 stars.

 To the Highest Bidder by SUPERSISTER album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.22 | 191 ratings

To the Highest Bidder
Supersister Canterbury Scene

Review by sinslice

5 stars Slowly Grow on Me.

Supersister include a select group of bands that did not attract me too much ( if anything ) the first times I heard, it was not ' love at first sight '. Although in most cases a complex and elaborate musical product needs time to be fully appreciated and gradually discovering it, with this Dutch band I almost give up. But fortunately I did not.

When I first heard it over twenty years ago, I was expecting a Camel style with guitars (no guitars here) and similar emotions conveyed in the music. It was a mistake. While it was a good influence to Latimer, Bardens and company, Supersister is more inclined to a Canterbury sound, to give a reference, but with a personal touch.

The sound of the first two albums is similar, but here the songwriting is stronger, almost no fillers, and ironic humor is less present. There are good tunes, well-structured and more than acceptable vocals.

" A Girl Named You" is the best work of the band, from my perspective. Ten minutes of musical ecstasy. Start with great energy, a driving hammond and electric piano, an electrifying Bass and perfect jazzy drums. Paragraph for the great performances of flute, wich is heard in the background accompanying almost all song.

"No tree will grow" contains an intriguing atmosphere and is more psychedelic, starting with keyboards to create suspense. Then Robert Jan Stips starts singing with a piano accompanying beautiful and skillfully; the song progresses slowly in intensity, without losing the initial atmosphere.

"Energy (Out of Future)" begins with a percussive base, then keyboards and flute. The rest is pure instrumental delight; accurate, with many changes and some interesting vocals. An experimental and space end.

Higher is as simple as beautiful.

Simply Essential.

 Iskander by SUPERSISTER album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.49 | 80 ratings

Supersister Canterbury Scene

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Iskander represents Supersister taking a more serious turn than usual, delivering a Canterbury concept album about Alexander the Great's Eastern conquests ("Iskander" being how Alexander was known in some of the regions he conquered) that draws more from the third Soft Machine album (sans Moon In June) than the whimsy-heavy first two. Those who prized Supersister's playfulness and sense of fun in their previous albums may find this stab at serious prog rock credibility dull by comparison, but to my ears they actually do a decent job of delivering a quieter and more thoughtful take on their sound which doesn't deserve to be in the shadow of Pudding en Gisteren - though at the same time, it doesn't feel quite as fresh as their first two albums.
 Pudding En Gisteren by SUPERSISTER album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.91 | 96 ratings

Pudding En Gisteren
Supersister Canterbury Scene

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Supersister were one of those bands who liked to keep the sense of humour in Canterbury-inspired progressive rock, and Pudding en Gisteren is an excellent example of that. The first side consists of a range of shorter, more whimsical tracks (well, "Shorter" is a relative term - Judy Goes on Holiday is 12 minutes long), whilst the title track is a side-long experimental number that gives the more serious side of the group's music a workout. Even the most commercial-sounding of the shorter songs, opening track Radio, has some unexpected twists and turns, and on the whole it's a solid followup to their classic first two albums.

That said, whilst it doesn't embarrass itself next to its predecessors, it doesn't really develop Supersister's music very much compared to them - the greatest departures, if anything, are the shorter pieces (Radio and Psychopath), which whilst whimsical aren't actually as compelling as the group's more complex material. Of the albums released by the original Supersister lineup, I find this one the least compelling.

 To the Highest Bidder by SUPERSISTER album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.22 | 191 ratings

To the Highest Bidder
Supersister Canterbury Scene

Review by rogerthat
Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars At the outset, let me declare my strong personal bias towards this album, or, specifically, the style of music employed here. I am a total sucker for baroque counterpoint as well as walking basslines. This peculiar combination is down to my adolescent experiences with music, which consisted of absorbing the works of a composer who happens to be my favourite musician of all to date. Being that said musician is not a prog rock musician, I won't get into the details of who he is and what he has done here. But let me just say that there are many moments on this Supersister album that evoke the style and approach of said musician to me. This perhaps blinds me to some extent to the flaws of this, their second album "To The Highest Bidder".

Both the mini-epics on this album, Girl Named You and Energy (Out of Future), lack organisation and resolution. It's not that the music is chaotic but there are places where it drifts into tangents, albeit rather busy and entertaining ones. And the resolution in both tracks feels a bit forced, as if stuck on to the end as an appendage for want of better alternatives. Both the other tracks, No Tree Will Grow and Higher, don't suffer these problems but are also lightweight in terms of structure (not that that's necessarily a problem). And...that's it. In essence, this album, not counting the bonus goodies on the remastered edition, consists of four tracks of which only exceed 10 minutes. In total, 35 minutes. That means while there is no danger of this album dragging on and losing the listener's attention, it is also a bit too short and 'light' to be truly sumptuous, at least from my perspective. Awarding a 5 stars is a long shot already and I can even empathise with those reviews that denied the 4 stars to it. As entertaining as this album is, one may well end up feeling, "What the fuss" when he is through with the album.

And, yet, oh, the entertainment. This Dutch outfit has a great sense of humour. It may not manifest itself quite so much in the lyrics but certainly in the musical decisions made. It is hard, at least for me, not to listen to this music without a big smile on me. They do get quirky and weird, as one would expect with most Canterbury, but in a funny and enjoyable way. Though there are some dissonant passages of music in the album, the mood rarely ever exudes dissonance. It's just the sound of a band having tons of fun.

And they do know how to have fun. The bass, drums and flute are superb throughout the album and the keyboard contributions are great too (check out the very baroque keyboards just before vocals kick in in Girl Named You). Robert Jan Stips sounds pretty close to Richard Sinclair in lots of places, notwithstanding some downright strange voice box-aided passages. The band's sense of fun, added to my partiality to their baroque harmony and hyperactive basslines, makes it easy going for me. I can nitpick and be critical but I don't feel particularly inclined to for the most part. Oh, it helps that, as such, I love Canterbury and Supersister, though they may be Dutch, nail the quintessence of Canterbury I would not be too far off the mark to suggest it's like listening to a quirky version of Caravan.

And any doubts I have for how much I have been engaged by the album are washed away by the brief but lovely Higher. This under three minute track has a very delicate and haunting refrain and the rendition, both vocals and instruments wise, is pitch perfect (emotionally, that is). To me, this track, in spite of how short it is, is a lot more substantial than anything else on the album and makes a much more lasting impression. The rest of the album is very entertaining to listen through; Higher has that elusive quality which persuades me to want to listen again...and then again and again.

With more tracks of the quality of Higher, Supersister would have pushed me to consider a 5 stars, overriding its notable flaws. But there's just one and as beautiful as it is, it does not push me to throw all objectivity out of the window.

In summary, it's got that classic 70s prog feel and unless you strongly dislike Canterbury, it's hard to go wrong with this album. But with that said, that's as far as it goes too. 4 stars.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to NotAProghead for the last updates

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