Saturday, October 3, 2015

Supersister - 1970 - Present From Nancy

Present From Nancy

Present from Nancy:
01. Introduction (2:57)
02. Present from Nancy (5:14)
Memories are New (Boomchick):
03. Memories are new (3:47)
04. 11/8 (3:16)
05. Dreaming Wheelwhile (2:52)
06. Corporation Combo Boys (1:21)
07. Mexico (4:21)
08. Metamorphosis (3:27)
09. Eight Miles High (0:22)
10. Dona Nobis Pacem (8:35)

bonus tracks on remastered reissue
11. She Was Naked (Single A-side) (3:45)
12. Spiral Staircase (Single B-side) (3:06)
13. Fancy Nancy (Single A-side) (1:48)
14. Gonna Take Easy (Single B-side) (2:43)

- Robert Jan Stips / keyboards, lead vocals, vibes
- Ron van Eck / (bass) guitar, fuzzbass
- Sacha van Geest / flutes, vocals
- Marco Vrolijk / drums, percussion, vocals

Going as far back as 66 in a group called The Bulbs (oh the humour in Tulipland, probably in homage to Zappa's Mothers) then Q-Provocation, this The Hague group became a sextet when mentor Rob Douw joined them on trumpet, inspiration and vocals and started experimenting and exploring underground avenues, which was just fine with the young Dutch hippies. Poets, dancers and body painters shared the stage with the group and a lightshow was put in works a few months after the Swinging London scene had started. This forced the musicians to improvise and their music naturally veered towards early Soft Machine and Barrett's Floyd, particularly through Stip's organ playing. The band took on its final name from their aborted hippie musical called Sweet Okay Supersister, and when two members left (including their Douw mentor) and let the group secure a contract with the Dutch national Phillips label through Polydor, while establishing their own cultural club in The Hague called "Provadia?", performing at the Woodstock Dutch-equivalent festival and recorded two singles prior to the release of their Present From Nancy, a non-existing English Girl. Black forest-y artwork and an un-mistakenly innerfold filled with

Opening with the title-track suite on a demented drumbeat, forcing a bare piano to keep up and later a flute, this upbeat track is an instrumental that gets you to think of a better-sounding Egg and has some of that neat Hatfield features to come. The three-part Memories Are Few starts quickly as well, and then veers to a nightmarish space rock, somewhere between Floys and some insane guitar-driven Hawkwind. Its aptly-titled middle section 11/8 tells you what it's about with a fuzz organ solo, while Wheelwhile has a quiet flute heading the bass and cymbals.

On the flipside, after the weird & short (but good) Corporation Combo Boys, the three-part Metamorphosis is full of sombre riff and breaks in its opening movement, while the second eponymous is reminiscent of Gentle Giant at times and insane binary drums and fuzzed-out organ and ends in a spoof Eight Miles High (a wink and a nod to countrymen Golden Earring who had made this Byrds song their bravado in concert and in the studio a few months before). The closing Dona Nobis Pacem is easily the album's best track, a quiet almost eerie dronal organ, sometimes over-ruled by synth lines or delicate percussions, and in the middle, the track suddenly speeds up in a classical music ritournelle, only to die out in its original drone and a loud crash

The remastered version comes with four bonus tracks, two non-album singles that preceded the PFN album and reflect the group's full lunacy and wide-spectrumed influences: the hypnotic She Was Naked (actually a rework of the album's Dona Nobis Pacem) is a calm Floyd-like track with Van Geest's flute the featured instrument until a sold guitar intervenes, while it's B-side Spiral Staircase is a silly ditty with mostly-spoken narration and silly repetitive binary piano. The other single is a spoof-boogie Fancy Nancy is almost a doo-wop track over Jerry Lee Lewis piano extravaganza, backed a just-as-weird Gonna Take Easy track that zooms towards Zappa; this second single is a little too painstakingly different and actually sound hollow. So with these four tracks added on, PFN now makes a fairly normal release length, but no matter how short, Supersister's debut is definitely worth hearing, despite its sometimes rough edges and over-silly humour, although we're still faraway from Pudding En Gisteren's madness..

Huge debut for Supersister, one the best prog band ever. We can say they have Cantebury influence and this is right, but this album is much more than Cantebury, very fresh, playful and changeful, much more twisted than band like Caravan or Soft Machine. They can be easily compared to the french band Moving Gelatine Plates. The band is leaded by one of the best prog keyboards Robert-Jan Stips, but all the memebers are incredible musicians. Other thing i really enjoy in this album the incredible vocal parts, incredible mature for a band of an average age of 15/16 years old. Concluding it's a really mastership of prog, an album able to interpratate the sophisticated atmosphere of cantebury with a crazy, fresh touch.

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