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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.

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Present From NancyPresent From Nancy
ESOTERIC 2008
$40.33 (used)
IskanderIskander
Esoteric 2008
$19.49
$15.68 (used)
To the Highest BidderTo the Highest Bidder
Esoteric 2008
$29.49
$29.57 (used)
Golden Years of Dutch Pop MusicGolden Years of Dutch Pop Music
Universal 2016
$16.03
$24.35 (used)
Pudding en GisterenPudding en Gisteren
Esoteric 2008
$19.95 (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)

4.03 | 212 ratings
Present From Nancy
1970
4.26 | 250 ratings
To The Highest Bidder
1971
3.96 | 127 ratings
Pudding En Gisteren [Aka: Pudding & Yesterday]
1972
3.49 | 105 ratings
Iskander
1973
3.27 | 72 ratings
Sweet Okay Supersister: Spiral Staircase
1974
3.94 | 27 ratings
Supersister Projekt 2019: Retsis Repus
2019

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)

2.71 | 17 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
 Supersister Projekt 2019: Retsis Repus by SUPERSISTER album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.94 | 27 ratings

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Supersister Projekt 2019: Retsis Repus
Supersister Canterbury Scene

Review by admireArt
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Supersisterīs founding member Robert Jan Stips rescues his heritage and re-models the early days of the Dutch band featuring an eager and talented guest list of collaborative musicians to accomplish his task.

How will Supersister sound in 2019? Was the question & guideline to this 11 track Supersister Projekt 2019: Retsis Repus.

To answer the question up front, this resuscitated and updated Supersister sounds as fresh, original, inventive, diverse and fun as their 70īs releases were. So to put the finger in the wound this is not just a rehash of old formulas, opposite to that the whole concept turns into a revindication of Supersisterīs musical language relevance in the Progressive Music catalogue and a gentle reminder of what Prog music should be aiming for to start with.

****/*

 Supersister Projekt 2019: Retsis Repus by SUPERSISTER album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.94 | 27 ratings

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Supersister Projekt 2019: Retsis Repus
Supersister Canterbury Scene

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

4 stars "Sweet OK Sister" was a band founded in 1967 in the Netherlands. They changed their name to Supersister later, but were still the same band. Considered part of the Canterbury Scene, they had a sound similar to "The Soft Machine" and "Caravan". The band originally released 5 full length albums between 1970 and 1974. Since that time, two of the original members have passed away, but, original founder Robert Jan Stips has recently decided to release a new album in March 2019 (the vinyl version was released in early April 2019) under the name of Supersister Projekt 2019 which harkens back to the original sound of the band. These are all new songs, 11 total with a run time of 39 minutes, with individual tracks ranging from 0:44 to 7:59. Robert provides the keyboards and vocals, but there are many musicians joining him in this new album, which is called "Retsis Repus".

Right off the bat, you get that somewhat minimal, somewhat dissonant and somewhat odd sound with the Progressive Folk and Canterbury sound, each instrument is easy to hear and distinct. Minimal percussion, interesting vocals and harmonies, and fuzzy guitars give it all that retro sound in the first track "Memories Are New IV", but the clarity of it all makes it current. Then there is that layer of jazz that permeates the music, you'll hear that clearly in the piano led "I Am You Are Me/Tramitter". The sound here is bright and there is a instrumental section in this that is long enough to let all of the solos breathe, most of them being piano or synth solos.

"For You and For Nobody Else" (the longest track on the album) continues with the jazz orientations, as expected, but has the inclusion of brass this time around, and very airy vocals. The tempo slows down later and meanders along in a nice way with violin, brass and piano creating a pastoral feel. The tempo alternates back and forth several times with the percussion staying mostly far in the background. "Max Eco" is a complex and more rock style than the previous track, but still with the odd melodies and progressive style. The vocals might be a little strange to a listeners that haven't had much experience with this style of music as they are somewhat dissonant and definitely not your standard fare which in a way reminds one of the complexity of "Comus", but much smoother sounding (it is progressive after all). "Hope to See You There Again" is a nice, almost blissful, instrumental (mostly anyway) which makes me feel like I'm flying above the clouds.

"Yellow Days" goes back to the jazz feel, but even with the strings and brass and the odd fuzzy synth, it still has that nice, smooth sound. Soft vocals come in after 2 minutes as everything turns quite minimal and pensive. "Next Door Movie" is another instrumental led by some interesting brass and string exploits with a xylophone also having it's own say. Progressively complex, yet smooth and airy at the same time. "Cuckoo" is a witty track with harmonized vocal layers and silly spoken words and sung lyrics. "Hope to See You Again" ends the album with a nice lushness.

Canterbury lovers will enjoy this album for it's strangenss and unpredictability and prog lovers will enjoy it's complexity. There are defintately legitimate ties to the sound of other Canterbury bands like Comus and Gong, but the overall sound isn't quite as choppy as those bands as there is this airiness and smoothness to the music in this album. But I still think it will appeal to fans of those bands, like myself. I feel it just misses the 5 star mark, but it definitely is an excellent album that seems to get better the more you hear it. Highly recommended to fans of the genre.

 Present From Nancy by SUPERSISTER album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.03 | 212 ratings

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Present From Nancy
Supersister Canterbury Scene

Review by GruvanDahlman
Collaborator Heavy Prog Team

4 stars There are so many bands hailing from the Netherlands and so many of them are extraordinarily good, at that. I mean, look at Focus or Mr. Albert Show or Earth & Fire or Ekseption, to name but a few. One of the really great and inventive of these was Supersister. This band made a grand and spectacular journey among the grassy knolls of the progressive landscape. One could argue that they seemed to adopt alot of elements from the Canterbury scene and I suppose that wouldn't be an unfair statement to make. However, their identity and sound is certainly recognisable as one of their own.

On this, their first, album they draw an almost equal amount of influences from jazz, rock and (not the least) psychedelic scene and thus creating a very juicy, loud and complex piece of progressive rock. The opening "Introductions" is a nice jazzy track with great flute and piano over energetic drums. A fine way to open up an album, if you ask me. The title track introduces more jazzy complexity with a prominent piano. The fuzz bass makes a great complement to the "clean" sounds of piano and drums. It's a wonderful piece of jazzy prog. Things go decidedly proggy in a grand way on "Memories are new (Boomchick)" which is also great. The oddly named "11/8" is a wonderfully weird affair that's filled to the brim of odd time signatures (hence the title) and sounds. It would be a fitting soundtrack to a horror movie where someone is chased through the dark by whatever creature you prefer. "Dreaming wheelwhile" offers some breathing space and is a lovely, beatiful flute driven (and no, not in a Tull-ish kind of way) piece. And then it's time for some pure fun. "Corporation combo boys" opens up with some doo wop style vocals but goes in to a distorted pop fashion with a few crazy ideas thrown in just for the heck of it. "Mexico" is utterly brilliant. Just stunning! Beautiful, powerful and omnipotent it stands as a giant amidst the tracks on the album. "Metamorphosis" is probably the most powerful of the tracks. Distorted, with oppressive drumming and chaotic vibes it is a treat. To celebrate their native land I suppose they thought it funny to include a cover, but not in the sense you think. "Eight miles high" by Golden Earring sounds, with it's 26 seconds, like nothing you've heard before. The closing track, "Dona nobis pacem", is a fitting way to end this album, on a quiet (almost) note. It's like you would enter a medieval monastery and find the monks exercising a psychedelic workout using a prominent organ and some other effects and inventing (at the end) circus music. (If you listen to it you will know what I mean.) It is here where the psychedelic elements come to the fore. A bit like Pink Floyd interpreting the music of a distant age.

I find this album to be quite challenging but in a good way, as it is supposed to be. There is alot to discover and while my first listens circled round the idea of putting things in order, working stuff out and finding some order in a seemingly chaotic album I eventually came to the conclusion that this is a truly wonderful album. It is very much of it's time, since it incorporates so many psychedelic elements but having said that it is important to stress the progressive geniuses at work here. If you're into Canterbury, jazz-rock or, simply put, great progressive rock I think you might want to lend your ears to this slice of great dutch cheese.

 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 | 127 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
4.26 | 250 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
4.03 | 212 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
4.26 | 250 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 | 127 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
4.03 | 212 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!

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

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