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SUPERSISTER

Canterbury Scene • Netherlands


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Supersister biography
Founded in 1967 in The Hague, Netherlands as "Sweet OK Sister" - Active 1970-1975, 2000-2001 and 2010-2011

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 Bidder" are generally the recommended starting places and work your way forward. One of the absolutely best groups from the Dutch progressive rock scene.

SUPERSISTER Videos (YouTube and more)


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Buy SUPERSISTER Music


Iskander/Spiral StaircaseIskander/Spiral Staircase
Universal Argent/Zoom 2009
$23.00 (used)
Golden Years of Dutch Pop MusicGolden Years of Dutch Pop Music
Universal 2016
$14.32
$14.40 (used)
Pudding en GisterenPudding en Gisteren
Esoteric 2008
$30.00 (used)
IskanderIskander
Esoteric 2008
$19.98
$15.68 (used)
To the Highest BidderTo the Highest Bidder
Esoteric 2008
$29.99
Present From NancyPresent From Nancy
ESOTERIC 2008
$29.99
$66.94 (used)
Long Live SuspersisterLong Live Suspersister
Centertainment 2013
$9.26
$9.25 (used)
Pudding En Gisteren/SuperstarshinePudding En Gisteren/Superstarshine
Universal Argent/Zoom 2009
$18.94 (used)
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SUPERSISTER discography


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

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

4.04 | 198 ratings
Present From Nancy
1970
4.27 | 233 ratings
To The Highest Bidder
1971
3.96 | 114 ratings
Pudding En Gisteren [Aka: Pudding & Yesterday]
1972
3.49 | 96 ratings
Iskander
1973
3.27 | 66 ratings
Sweet Okay Supersister: Spiral Staircase
1974

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

3.56 | 19 ratings
Supersisterious
2001
3.67 | 9 ratings
Long Live Supersister!
2013

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

4.15 | 10 ratings
Sweet OK Supersister
2006

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

2.70 | 15 ratings
Superstarshine vol. 3
1972
3.00 | 1 ratings
Startrack Vol. 1
1973
2.50 | 2 ratings
Iskander / Spiral Staircase
1990
3.33 | 3 ratings
Present From Nancy / To The The Highest Bidder
1990
3.00 | 2 ratings
Pudding En Gisteren / Superstarshine
1990
2.83 | 10 ratings
m.a.n. (Memories Are New)
2000
3.66 | 5 ratings
Universal Masters Collection
2002
4.00 | 1 ratings
Dreaming Wheelwhile
2012

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

2.50 | 2 ratings
Fancy Nancy
1970
3.00 | 2 ratings
No Tree Will Grow
1971
3.00 | 3 ratings
A Girl Named You
1971

SUPERSISTER Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 m.a.n. (Memories Are New) by SUPERSISTER album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2000
2.83 | 10 ratings

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m.a.n. (Memories Are New)
Supersister Canterbury Scene

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

3 stars It seems like everything that SUPERSISTER concocted in their wake had a connection to something else in their canon of classic prog and therefore the perpetual labyrinth of themes that added an extra layer to their short but sweet OK career. Same goes for the 2000 compilation titled M.A.N. aka MEMORIES ARE NEW and in fine print on the cover you will see "This is not the new SUPERSISTER reunion 2000 CD!" This phrase stems from the fact that the band swore when they broke up in the mid-70s that they would NEVER reform. Well reform they did for the 2000 progfrest in Los Angeles, CA and while this isn't a bona fide reunion album, it is more of a comeback than they ever bargained for. BTW, this was the first time the band ever played in the US. They were a European band through and through.

The title is a throwback to the B-side of the single "Bagoas" which appeared on the 1973 release "Iskander." The track itself isn't even included on this compilation (it's a rather no nonsense jazz-fusion instrumental track on slo-mo and rather meh IMO.) SUPERSISTER had a short but very dynamic career having caught the prog world by storm and then fizzling out as the scene itself dissipated. This compilation basically captures a bunch of unreleased material under the guise of the 2000 progfest reunion. It captures three distinct phases of the band's career displaying the reunion phase in live performances, unreleased tracks with an orchestra from their early 70s years as well as the years before their debut in their proto-prog Nederland beat mode.

The first four tracks are dedicated to the live performances that found the band playing together for the first time in a coon's butt's age with one track "Present From Nancy" from their debut and two others from the "Pudding En Gisteren" years with the inclusion of an unreleased track "Mexico" tacked into the middle for sort of a medley effect as it basically continues the melodic developments of "Radio." Track 5 - WTF? Tracks #6 - 12 were recorded on 4-10-1971 with the Tanz- und Unterhatungsorchester des NDR in Germany during their short stint as musicians for ballet fusion. Unfortunately the music isn't up to the classic SUPERSISTER mode and makes the weakest part of the compilation.

The last five tracks are dedicated to the era before their debut "Present From Nancy." These tracks are hit and miss as Stips and company were merely getting their feet wet however it's quite clear on the strongest of the lot such as the trippy and cool "Woods Of Frustrated Men," that the band were venturing into stranger pastures of musical exploration also made known by the unusual remake of the American traditional "I Wish I Was In Dixie." All in all, this is a really great supplemental supply of SUPERSISTER obscurities. Although not essential, for anyone who is a fan, this is the next logical step. It provides a historical context as well as some great music that doesn't fit neatly into their already eclectic canon. Well worth the time if you want to dig deeper.

3.5 but rounded down due to inconsistencies

 Pudding En Gisteren [Aka: Pudding & Yesterday] by SUPERSISTER album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.96 | 114 ratings

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Pudding En Gisteren [Aka: Pudding & Yesterday]
Supersister Canterbury Scene

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars The career of SUPERSISTER was brief but moved fairly quickly. It all began in 1967 while the band members were still in high school and founded by singer / songwriter Rob Douw who would soon leave the newly formed the Nederlands beat group Sweet OK Supersister however the band continued with Robert Jan Stips taking the role as bandleader with his keyboard playing become the focal point. Only three years later the band honed their chops and copped an English Canterbury attitude and stunned the fledgling prog rock universe with their amazingly performed antics on "Present From Nancy." Only a year later, the band developed their ideas even further and presented a more mature vision with their highly popular "To The Highest Bidder." It was at this point that they became extremely popular in their native Netherlands and also turned some heads all across Europe.

All the critical acclaim cemented a series of concerts in their homeland and extensive touring throughout Germany, England, France and Italy. In no time at all the band was working with full-fledged orchestras with the help of the German TV channel NDR which commissioned a performance with the Tanz und Unterhaltungsorchester des NDR conducted by Alfred Hause. The newly constructed compositions by bassist / guitarist Ron van Eck and Stips found a whole new audience for SUPERSISTER and soon thereafter they announced a collaboration between SUPERSISTER and the Nederlands Danstheater (the Dutch Dance Theater Company). The project took SUPERSISTER into yet another new arena where the idea was that the band would provide the soundtrack to a modern ballet accompanied by rock music.

This was also the time that the band was hoping to expand the lineup by adding a new guitarist in the form of ex-Brainbox member John Schuursma, but despite all the efforts did not happen and although the whole project of ballet meets prog did occur with the Nederlands Danstheater, it did so without SUPERSISTER. Slightly dismayed, the band entered the studio to record their third album PUDDING EN GISTEREN, a title that was supposed to grace the ballet project but rather become the emphasis of a third album. One of the major effects of hearing this third release by SUPERSISTER without this knowledge means the album will be experienced completely out of context and results in a lackluster understanding of the high velocity evolutionary dynamics that were taking place at the time.

PUDDING EN GISTEREN (Pudding and Yesterday) was the end of the road for the original lineup after all the turbulence of the music business but despite not quite reaching the glory of their first two albums, this third one delivers the goods on many fronts. During the period of the two predecessors, there were many pop hooks incorporated amongst the technical workouts that were truncated for a more commercial friendly environment such as the single "A Girl Named You" and "No Tree Will Grow." On PUDDING EN GISTEREN, the hook-laden melodies were prime time and dominate the two major leading tracks "Radio" and "Psychopath," which shows the clever shapeshifters of the Canterbury sound moving away from the early Soft Machine playbook to a more Caravan based one, however these guys were brilliant in their execution.

"Radio" begins as an almost saccharin display of pop earworm charm with that indefinable Canterbury Scene edge laced with Zappa- esque humor but after a few measures of "too sweet for its own good" erupts into an energetic jaunty ostinato bass driven rock bravado with clever spoken word narrative. The second track is a mere fifteen second electronically infused melody that merges into the third track, the equally addictive keyboard driven and almost Vaudville friendly tune "Psychopath' with intelligent lyrics as if Paul McCartney had cranked out a Beatles approved tune under the influence of heroin. Keeping in line with their Canterbury tinged humor, both lyric driven tracks are quite sardonic with an equal display of dark subject matter quilted in the expected whimsical dressing.

The fifteen second track aside, the album only has four bona fide tracks and by track number four "Judy Goes On Holiday," the SUPERSISTER of the past, namely the progressive rock masters who display their technically induced prowess in a parade of never- ending prog displays comes to fruition. On this track the band display not only their instantly addictive pop hooks, but tease them out into full pomp and awe which by the end even went in the the part of the Frank Zappa playbook that few others would dare, that being the doowop laden vaults of "Cruising With Reuben & The Jets." Ironically, PUDDING EN GISTEREN not only contains the shortest SUPERSISTER track with the fifteen second "Supersisterretsisrepus" but also the longest track of their career in the creatively complex 21 minute track "Pudding En Gisteren Music For Ballet," which displays the full technical prog compositional flare and musical gymnastics as their previous works.

PUDDING EN GISTEREN goes down in history as the weakest of the three albums with the original lineup for a reason. This one is less consistent and more awkwardly laid out than the first two. Add to that i find that "Judy Goes On Holiday" has an obnoxiously long middle section that meanders into mellow mode for far too long and then only emerges for a wear-out-its-welcome doowop loop of the same melody only sped up slightly after every measure for some sort of effect. The two pop oriented tracks coming first followed by the more complex ones seems out of balance but i have found the album somewhat addictive. While not as perfectly engaging as the first two, album number three is chock full of SUPERSISTER-isms to the max and despite the few complaints i carry, still remains a brilliant slice of early 70s progressive rock. Some have even deemed this their finest hour. While i can't say i share that consensus, i have to admit that this one, despite a step down in continuity and quality, is still an excellent delivery of the Canterbury Scene in progressive rock.

 To The Highest Bidder by SUPERSISTER album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.27 | 233 ratings

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To The Highest Bidder
Supersister Canterbury Scene

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

5 stars SUPERSISTER was the band that put the Netherlands on the world map. True the Shocking Blue had taken the world by storm with their #1 pop hit "Venus" and had several more hits in Europe, but they mostly were ignored by the English speaking countries. SUPERSISTER made a huge splash with their debut "Present From Nancy" which caught the attention of none other than DJ John Peel who championed their record on BBC Radio which percolated into the greater British prog scene.

The fact that their Canterbury sound connected them to such greats as Soft Machine didn't hurt one little bit, however SUPERSISTER was a force to reckon with on their own terms. By cleverly juxtaposing the best aspects of the Canterbury sound of Soft Machine such as the instrumental playfulness and lyrical whimsy and marrying them with the jazz-rock of Frank Zappa and the Mothers invention with a little classical chops including that of Erik Satie, this band from The Hague quickly became one of the most inventive and unpredictable acts of the early 70s.

Having proven themselves as the Dutch world's most intelligent band, SUPERSISTER had captivated audiences in their live settings with their stunning and cleverly laid out compositions that took the jittery caffeinated aspects of Zappa and placed them into the context of Soft Machines jazz-rock laced with psychedelic and classical. One particularly important appearance was a concert at Groeneveld Castle in Baarn, Netherlands which was televised on Dutch TV. And while a few guitar parts were included on the debut, SUPERSISTER totally eschews any guitar on this one, making it one of the few guitar free prog acts of the day (Van Der Graaf Generator being another example.) Ron van Eck would pick up the slack with fuzz bass licks and solos.

While working on their second album TO THE HIGHEST BIDDER which emerged the year after the debut, SUPERSISTER's record label Polydor demanded that the band focus on releasing singles despite the band staunchly desiring to remain an album only act. The pressure was too great and the band caved, or compromised rather and took the spectacular lead track "A Girl Named You" and truncated it to a single's length however they would have none of the musical watering down business and created one of the most bizarre singles probably to have ever hit the Dutch marketplace. The B-side "Missing Link" which is tacked on to remastered versions is no less bizarre and utterly brilliant.

While "Present From Nancy" was sort of a climax to the material SUPERSISTER were cranking out before their debut which found them mixing and melding their influences together into highly energetic and chaotic progressive pieces of labyrinthine detours, TO THE HIGHEST BIDDER found the band with a more focused and even keel method to their madness. Keyboardist Robert Jan Stips had taken the helm as songwriter-in-chief and teasing the band's already established sound into a woven tapestry of Canterbury and jazz-rock bliss which found SUPERSISTER dishing out one of the most stylistic originalities of the year 1971 that only hosted a mere four tracks.

Starting the album out with aggressive piano stabs and an instantly recognizable Canterbury jazz groove, "A Girl Like You" was the antithesis of a single or love song as the title suggests. Instead it evolves into several passages that escape the Canterbury clutches and verge into Zappa-esque xylophone runs obviously influenced the the "Uncle Meat" album. Finally well over the four minute mark, Robert Jan Stips blurts out the first vocals on the album which show a darker side of the band which belie the soothing flute solos, upbeat rhythmic dexterity and overall Canterbury groovilisciousness. The piece not only brilliantly melds jazz and rock together seamlessly but contains an ambient psychedelic mellotron backdrop that adds a whole other layer of trippiness.

"No Tree Will Grow (On Too High A Mountain)" begins and ends with a steady gait of electronic sounds that would sound more at home on a Tangerine Dream album but sets the tone for the track as it drones behind a slowly creeping keyboard run that eventually unleashes an uncanny lyrical lugubriousness lightyears away from the carefree frenzy of the debut. The piano melody is utterly addictive while Stips simultaneously does his best Robert Wyatt vocal impression. The track slowly picks up steam as the mellotron becomes an angelic choral in concert with some sort of dolphin sounds. The track ends with a transcendental meditative universal OM before laughter breaks out reminding that this is still Canterbury infused prog rock after all.

The longest and most ambitious track of the album and perhaps the entire SUPERSISTER canon is the outrageous and outstanding "Energy (Out Of Future)" which somehow takes a few simple and addictive melodic earworms and finds more variations on how to alternate the timbres, dynamics, tempos and stylistic shifts than Mozart's entire symphonic career! This track banters the senses as it pummels with heavy percussion, soothes with pacifying flute, bedazzles with Keith Emerson inspired keyboard virtuosity and stuns in its sheer audacity to adopt complicated time signatures run amok but finding balance with the recurring melodic stabilizing effects. The track not only features some of the band's best instrumental workouts but adopts healthy doses of electronic sounds and experimental touches. While mostly instrumental, the track does exhibit unexpected periods of vocal driven Canterbury jazz rock but more often than not zigzags all around like a headless chicken.

The short closer "Higher" really should have been the single. It is the right length and is the only "normal" song on the album. Whereas "Energy" was a bantering assault on the senses, "Higher" is a beautiful keyboard driven ballad in standard psychedelic pop rock fashion and provides the perfect come down from an overtly intense ride into the twisted world of this Dutch group's idiosyncrasies.

While SUPERSISTER bedazzled an unsuspecting prog world with their debut, they went for the jugular with TO THE HIGHEST BIDDER which found all the band's strengths reaching compositional maturity and finding them poised as Holland's greatest musical export during the era and was made even more dramatic by the stunning bright yellow gatefold album cover that donned two large eyes on each panel with coins as the irises and a naked girl added in the upper left corner for good measure. The formula of Stips taking the helm as songwriter and letting the rest of the band add their own touches after the fact turned out to be the perfect chemistry for SUPERSISTER 2.0 and despite tamping down the humor and focusing on more serious and dark subject matter, the music still retained that indefinable but instantly recognizable Canterbury jazz-rock warmth. This was the album that got SUPERSISTER noticed beyond the Netherlands and in terms of popularity their absolute peak.

 Present From Nancy by SUPERSISTER album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.04 | 198 ratings

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Present From Nancy
Supersister Canterbury Scene

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

5 stars The origins of SUPERSISTER go all the way back to The Hague, Netherlands in 1967 when Robert-Jan Stips (vocals and keyboard), Sacha van Geest (flute), Marco Vrolijk (drums) and Ron van Eck (bass) started the band under the moniker Sweet O.K. Supersister (the name they would release their final album "Spiral Staircase" under). In the few short years between their formation and the release of their debut release PRESENT FROM NANCY, a collection of absurdist musical tales of a fictitious girl having tea with the giant staircase gnome, the band honed their chops to become one of the biggest surprises of the nascent progressive rock scene in 1970 by taking the Canterbury traits of Soft Machine, Egg and Caravan and marrying them to the whimsy on steroids approach of The Mothers Of Invention all the while throwing in some Miles Davis and John Coltrane jazz effects mangled up in a classically infused compositional approach. All in the spirit of the wild experimental odometer years of the 60s turn 70s era.

While mere teenagers, this quartet dished out some of the most adventurous music of the early prog scene that literally took their influences to the next few levels and unleashed a truly bizarre mishmash of Vrolijk's military styled percussive drive (offering a somewhat cartoonish effect), blitzkrieg keyboard virtuosity delivered by the frenetic fingers of Robert Jan Stips (who simultaneously nailed the Robert Wyatt vocal style), the Caravan inspired fuzz bass of Ron van Eck and Van Geest's sensual flute performances that somehow provide a grounding to the electric performances that make up PRESENT FROM NANCY, one of the ultimate gifts of 1970 indeed and one of the Netherlands' finest hours. In the world of progressive rock PRESENT FROM NANCY simultaneously offers some of the most complex musical deliveries with outlandish humorous touches that even finds the band members cracking up!

The album starts off with a robotic percussive drive with a classic Canterbury jazzed up piano run, a juxtaposition of styles that carries on throughout the album's entire run, never lets up and offers only the unexpected after a sense of comfort dares creep in. The album could be thought of as taking up the continuation of Soft Machine's first two albums. While the Softs were hell bent for leather to jettison their Canterbury pop rock origins in favor of stodgy and whimsy-free jazz fusion, SUPERSISTER gleefully picked up where "Soft Machine II" left off and then found myriad avenues of creative liberties to breath new life into it by taking the most extreme elements of the musical landscape and finding a way to incorporate them into the greater scheme of things.

SUPERSISTER managed to deliver the whole package with pleasant, even addictive melodies teased out into elaborate compositions that simultaneously exhibited a caffeinated youthful energetic drive together with mature and thoughtfully laid out musical motifs that took all the best aspects of the English Canterbury sound along with jazz-rock, classical and even managed to throw in some ridiculously cool psychedelia via electronic freak outs over exquisitely complex time signatures. The sheer audacity on display in "Memories Are New" for example, a construct of three segments that make a greater whole runs the gamut of sweet Canterbury laced jazzy melodies, relentless fuzz bass stabs, electronic feedback run amok and even sizzling guitar leads on par with any heavy rock of the day. The "11/8" part takes the best aspects of Egg and Mike Ratelege only to more extreme levels.

"Corporation Combo Boys," right out of the Frank Zappa playbook finds jazz-rock and tango romping together but only a brief appetite whetter for "Metamorphosis," another three part suite that sounds like a pronto-punk band experimenting with jazzy lounge lizard exotica that slowly ratchets up the intensity until it implodes with the closing segment "Eight Miles High." "Dona Nobis Pacem" goes even further and finds the band displaying some of the most interesting electronic techniques made more famous by Tangerine Dream as ethereal organ runs taking a ride into space in a slow unwinding prancing session between the stars, a track that belies the frenetic and whimsical nature of the album as a whole. Some sort of calming effect perhaps for the unsuspecting audience of the day? Who knows but a perfect way to end the prog expresss that unapologetically wends and winds through both the known and unknown prog universe of the day.

With so many elements freewheeling around the racetrack at a million miles an hour, PRESENT FROM NANCY shows a keen sense of stylistic balance which allows the album to hum along in perfection. The frenetic aspects are tamped down by the sensual moments of introspection. SUPERSISTER became quite the sensation in their native country even spawning hit singles but once English DJ John Peel started promoting them on his BBC Radio One Show, the band found a wider audience following in all of Europe and successfully captured hearts in their live performances. While stylistically straddling the line between Canterbury, jazz, classical and psychedelia, SUPERSISTER's debut delivered one of the most diverse sounding albums of the early progressive rock years in the vein of King Crimson's mighty debut "In The Court" which boldly straddles the musical soundscape into hitherto unvisited nooks and crannies of sound. This was very much a grower for yours truly. What started out as a WTF type of album has slowly sunk in to become an all time favorite. Patience, my friends. All good things come in their due time. A PRESENT FROM NANCY is the gift that keeps on giving.

 To The Highest Bidder by SUPERSISTER album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.27 | 233 ratings

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To The Highest Bidder
Supersister Canterbury Scene

Review by WFV

5 stars Supersister's sophomore release expands upon the incredible sound of the debut into the realms of the all time classic progressive rock recordings. I love In the Land of Grey and Pink but this album may just inch above it for me. Classic opener, stupendous second song (No Tree Will Grow is one of recorded musics finest 7:40) and the third and fourth tracks only expand upon the awesomeness. An all time progressive rock classic at the top of the Canterbury style. This album belongs in the collection of every prog fan.

The bonus tracks on the CD reissues are interesting novelties, but add nothing to the final result

 Pudding En Gisteren [Aka: Pudding & Yesterday] by SUPERSISTER album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.96 | 114 ratings

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Pudding En Gisteren [Aka: Pudding & Yesterday]
Supersister Canterbury Scene

Review by Progfan97402
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This is the third album from Supersister and they continued to be on a roll, although the album is a bit uneven. "Radio" starts off really deceptively in early '70s easy listening territory, but then there's a totally unexpected twist where they go all wild on us, sounding nothing like the first have. The lyrics seem to be an attack on mainstream radio (in America mainstream radio was AM, FM was still underground, but won't be by 1975 when it went commercial, and going the AOR route since then). "Psychopath" has a bit of a Caravan feel going on, complete with Richard Sinclair-like vocals, with Robert Jan Stips providing harpsichord, as well as Mellotron (an M300 that happened to belong to Phonogram Studios in Hilversum, Holland, which the album was recorded in, and was the same Mellotron heard on Earth & Fire and Ekseption albums until 1973). "Psychopath" isn't a favorite, but not bad. "Judy Goes On Holiday" is a great instrumental jazzy piece, which ends with the silly doo-wop of "Love Me in the Morning" (I own the original Dutch pressing on Polydor, there's a one minute silent gap between "Judy Goes on Holiday" and "Love Me in the Morning", which leads me to believe the latter was an afterthought and the band didn't intend that to be there, or perhaps the gap was there so people can switch to side two if they felt it was lame). The title track is also instrumental, and takes up all of side two, proves that Supersister can pull it off. It's just another album I can highly recommend.
 Present From Nancy by SUPERSISTER album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.04 | 198 ratings

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Present From Nancy
Supersister Canterbury Scene

Review by ALotOfBottle
Collaborator Heavy Prog Team

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 [Aka: Pudding & Yesterday] by SUPERSISTER album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.96 | 114 ratings

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Pudding En Gisteren [Aka: Pudding & Yesterday]
Supersister Canterbury Scene

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars The original lineup of this band put together three albums in rapid fire succession, 1971-72, before losing a few of its founding members Sacha van Geest and Marco Vrolijk (leader, keyboard player, and producer Robert Jan Stips would leave in 1974 after the recording of the band's fifth album, Spiral Staircase, where he would go on to join Golden Earring through their monster hit album, Moontan). This is the third of that trilogy. (The band would dis-band later with the departure of leader and founder, Stips.) 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 | 96 ratings

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Iskander
Supersister Canterbury Scene

Review by GruvanDahlman
Collaborator Heavy Prog Team

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
4.04 | 198 ratings

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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 I have to say that it's stood the test of time very well.

'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 'Supersisters' 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.

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

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